A CSA arrangement can be a valuable part of your farm operation. This method of direct marketing provides:
Like other direct marketing methods, CSA arrangements provide farmers an opportunity to sell their product locally and have direct contact with customers.
Operating a CSA arrangement presents certain challenges to many farmers. There are several things to consider before starting a CSA arrangement:
Find out if there is a demand or interest in your area for a CSA arrangement. Talk with people in the community or conduct informal surveys to determine their interests. If the interest is there, then the next step is getting the word out. Develop a brochure or flyer describing your CSA arrangement and offer details about your particular operation. Provide a list of products you plan to plant throughout the growing season. Advertise in local newspapers or distribute brochures or flyers at local health food stores, community centers, farmers markets, etc. Emphasize to consumers that CSA arrangements:
Maintain a close connection with your members throughout the season. Encourage feedback from them to help you plan for the following year. You may consider publishing a monthly newsletter containing farm news, recipes, or tips on canning and preserving. Consider having a farm work-day, an open house, or pot luck dinner at your farm.
An excellent resource for those farmers interested in starting a CSA arrangement is the book, Sharing the Harvest: A Guide to Community Supported Agriculture by Elizabeth Henderson with Robin Van En.
For more information about how to start a CSA arrangement or information about potential members, contact Project Green Leaf at: firstname.lastname@example.org