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How did you go about starting a garden share? I have though of getting into this, but don't know how to get the word out. Any suggestions appreciated. I think for the first year I would keep it at only 3-4 other people. At least until I know how it will work out. I have access to a small triangle shaped plot that I could plant if I wanted. How do you price the shares & what do they include? I could include fresh eggs & even soap if things were short some weeks. Is that something that might work?
 

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Wendy,

Check out the threads under the market garden section about CSA.
One thing I would recommend for customers, know them well, make sure they know and appreciate how farming is. Educate them as to the seasons and harvest. So they don't expect tomatoes in June or something.
Personally I am going back to doing farmers markets. Much less stressful and more fun. But to each her own. Good luck, Lisa
 

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Check in the library, also. There are a couple of good books about CSAs with strategies that several have used.
As HilltopDaisy has mentioned in other posts, it takes a lot more to fill a bag each week than you'd think, so determine if your "triangle" will be big enough to grow those items, or at the very least, if there are other growers in the area where you could get stuff to meet your share obligations.
Ann
 

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Rereading I thought of the length of a share. Ours are 24 weeks, too long this year. Many in this area (Michigan) have 18 weeks or even less. We have about 8 weeks left and I'm beginning to wonder what I will have at the end. Usually I would have some winter squash, gourds, possibly pumpkins. But this year we have tomatoes, celery, edamame, and some brussel sprouts thats about it. Lisa
 

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We started by working out how much we wanted people to receive each week of the season, then we worked out how many people we could support at that level on the land we had ready. We do the calculations in feet of row, so then if all the vegetables for one person for the whole season work out to (and I'm making these up) 50 feet of row and your bed has 200 feet of row, you can support 4 shares. Then you need to work out how much it is going to cost you to grow those vegetables and how much profit you need to make it worthwhile. Add those together and divide the amount by your 4 shares. If you come to an amount that is way higher or way lower than other farms are asking, double check your figures. If you are too low you may be short changing yourself on the profit part, but you may have underestimated the costs. If you are too high you may have priced yourself out of the market.
 

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sell to just friends and family to begin with till you get the nag of things. Then once you feel comfortable in being able to supply crops (food) tell your friends and family to tell others about your little venture. And word of mouth will grow it from there.
You could also print up flyers and post them at local stores in your area with their permission.
Your local Church
Doctors Office
Dentist
Clubs you are members of
etcetc.
you get the idea.
You may want to market and ask for ideas of what people are interested in eating.
If you ask 40 people what they want to eat and only one person says they like eggplants I sure wouldnt be planting eggplants unless you plan on eating them all.
In other words stay away from things that arent poplar and I for one stay away from things I wont eat myself. I figure what doesnt sell at least I know I will eat.
 

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You know, pixel, that is just the opposite approach to what we took. To have issues brought up at church or at family dinners or other social activities spoils both the business and the socializing. If we contacted people because they are members of the same PTA as us, then the PTA refreshment breaks can become a venue for gripes; if the person who becomes a member of our CSA happens to be a member of the same PTA, it is a one on one discussion and doesn't involve everyone there. At least that was our reasoning. We've also supplied farm products to our family since forever. It's hard to discuss charging your aunt for the tomatoes you've previously given her.

We found that by beginning with acquaintances, such as summer people, we could establish the CSA as a BUSINESS. Then if friends and family want to join, they are joining a business, not changing a relationship. Again, at that time we had an established farm stand business, so we had a venue for getting the offer out with each sale. Had I been starting up from my own personal garden patch, my opinions and my options would no doubt be different.
 
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