Local, Organic and Fair: Setting a High Bar for Our CSAs
Elizabeth Henderson, author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture
While some organic advocates worry that “local” will supplant organic, I think the rising commitment to buy local gives CSAs an enormous opportunity. I will talk about how our CSAs can become the local, organic and fair food systems that citizens imagine when they buy from a local farm.
Multifarm CSA: A Collaborative Option
Jill Perry, co-author of Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook
Jill will use the story of Local Harvest CSA, a successful multifarm CSA based in Concord, NH, to outline the basic considerations of a group or individual interested in starting a collaborative CSA. Drawing upon her experience as a grower and manager for Local Harvest CSA, as well as personal research on other collaborative ventures, she will discuss how a multifarm CSA might be structured to meet the specific needs of the growers and community members involved.
CSA Expansion and Development Track
Session 1: The Intervale Center Food Basket: A Multi-Farm Workplace CSA
Travis Marcotte, Director of Agricultural Development Services, the Intervale Center
The Intervale Center, a nonprofit in Burlington, Vermont, works with a group of local farmers to provide a multi-farm workplace CSA with delivery to 8 businesses in the Burlington area. The program piloted both summer and winter shares in 2008 and is now gearing up for a successful season in 2009. Come learn more about the opportunities and challenges of workplace delivery, collaborative agricultural marketing and non-profit/farmer ownership models.
Session 2: Transforming Customers into Co-Producers
Elizabeth Henderson, Peacework Organic Farm and Genesee Valley Organic CSA (GVOCSA)
Elizabeth will talk about how her farm and other farms involve members and how the GVOCSA core group evolved. There will be lots of time for discussion about participants’ experiences and questions.
Session 3: Panel: Alternative Models of Community Supported Enterprise
Jonah Fertig & Hanifa Washington, Owners, Local Sprouts Community Supported Kitchen
Davis Taylor, Coordinator, MDI Food Coop Buying Club & CSA
Glen Libby, Chair, Midcoast Fishermen’s Association
Community Supported Fisheries Program
CSA Mini-School Track
The school will introduce the concepts and practices of CSA farming and will benefit anyone interested in CSAs, but is designed for beginners or those planning to start a CSA soon.
The curriculum was developed by CSA-Michigan
, a small non-profit farmer organization in Michigan and publishers of The Community Farm Newsletter. Two experienced Michigan CSA farmers will lead the mini–school: Phyllis Wells of Wells Family Farm
in Williamsburg, MI and Jenny Tutlis of Meadowlark Farm
in Lake Leelanau, MI
All conference registrants for will receive an accompanying training manual on the basics of starting a CSA.
Introduction to CSA
Share types and pricing
Members: recruitment, keeping community, core groups
Communication: brochures, newsletters, member handbook, surveys
Planting considerations: complex cropping schedule, succession planting, record keeping
Distribution: on the farm, delivery, packaging
Not Just Veggies
Featured Speaker Bios:
Elizabeth Henderson farms at Peacework Organic Farm in Wayne County, New York, and has been producing organically grown vegetables for the fresh market for over 27 years. She is a founding member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) in Massachusetts, has been on the Board of Directors of NOFA-NY since 1989, and represents NOFA in the national discussions of organic standards. She chairs the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board in Wayne County, and is a member of the steering committee of the Agricultural Justice Project and helped organize the Domestic Fair Trade Association. In 2001, the organic industry honored her with one of the first “Spirit of Organic awards, and in 2007, Abundance Co-op honored her with the “Cooperating for Communities” award. Her writings on organic agriculture appear in The Natural Farmer and the NOFA-NY Food, Farms and Folks, and she is one of the authors of The Real Dirt: Farmers Tell about Organic and Low-Input Practices in the Northeast, lead author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 1999, with a new edition in 2007) and wrote A Manual of Whole Farm Planning (2003) with Karl North. With her former farm partner, she wrote A Food Book for a Sustainable Harvest for the members of the Genesee Valley Organic Community Supported Agriculture Project (GVOCSA). Her farm, Peacework Organic Farm, supplies vegetables to the 300 member GVOCSA, in its twentieth year in 2008.
Jill Perry has been involved in organic farming for nine years. In 2003 and 2004 she worked as a manager and grower for Local Harvest CSA, a multifarm CSA based in Concord, NH. Impressed with the innovative structure of Local Harvest CSA, she and fellow grower Scott Franzblau co-authored Local Harvest: A Multifarm CSA Handbook. Jill currently lives the Catskill Mountains, where she teaches high school English.
Jenny Tutlis has been farming for 20 years. Having grown up in northern Michigan, she and husband Jon Watts returned home 14 years ago to start their own farm in Leelanau County (in the pinky finger of the mitten that is Michigan). Meadowlark Farm is a 20 acre diversified vegetable, cut flower, small fruits and herb farm that specializes in CSA and season extension. Meadowlark is heading into it's 12th year of CSA. They provide food for the Meadowlark community for 10 months out of the year (zone 5) using unheated hoophouses and a root cellar. They serve over 200 families in a 30 mile radius through CSA as well as small, local grocery stores, a local food pantry and several restaurants. They live on a peninsula, surrounded by the lovely Lake Michigan as well as many small inland lakes. They have 2 kids, Ella (12) and Eli (10) who are homeschooled.
Phyllis Wells and husband Michael have run Wells Family Farm for 26 years. They've had a CSA for 17 of those years. In the past they ran a very busy on-farm stand where they sold flowers, fruit and vegetables. Currently they sell at the Elk Rapids farmers market in addition to running their 60-family CSA. Phyllis also taught high school Spanish for 21 years, while Mike farmed full time.