RE: Pulling Back...


I am saddened beyond measure by your post.  No one could say you haven't
tried your best.

Today is one of two weekly distribution days here at Seeking Common round
CSA.  We're within 80 miles of you, south of Rochester, NY, and in our
startup year we had no real problem recruiting 60 member families [10
full share and 50 half share].  In the field and distribution shed this
morning I have 5 adults and two children, plus an intern, washing and
bunching veggies, laying mulch and finishing up the harvest. Last
Saturday it was about the same.  Later today we expect a nice turnout for
our third educational workshop, "Your Organic Yard," put on by a
member-volunteer who's a landscaper by trade.

The difference between our experience and yours?  I'm not sure, but a
large part of it must have to do with the active, committed core group
that conceived this project last Fall and recruited me as grower during
the Winter.  This group of seven women have juggled jobs, family, and the
rest of their complex life demands to coordinate distribution twice a
week, a bi-weekly newsletter, keep track of members' work {8 hours per
half share], family festivals, co-op child care, public meetings,
publicity,  workshops, bookeeping, and all the rest--so I can concentrate
on growing vegetables.

Most of our folks travel 15-20 miles to the farm for the weekly
distribution, and several travel much further.

OK, it remains to be seen how many of our members will go beyond the
novelty of the thing and re-up for next year...but I'm confident.

You seem more or less undeterred.  Good for you for considering
relocating and carrying on the CSA ideal.  

Later: Another thought or two, after I've had the chance talk about your
communication with a couple of our core group people today...

* We invite you, most coridally,  to come to our harvest festival on
September 20, 6:00 PM.

* And it's not been as easy as perhaps I've made it sound.  That
"juggling" I mentioned the core group doing is a tremendous challenge for
them.  I don't have that particular problem, as my life is my work; my
challenge has been more technical, trying to coax vegetables out of
first-year ground, heavy clay at that.  Yields have been poor to
middling, but the soil shows good response to the Biodynamic treatment.

All the best, 


Woody Wodraska--Seeking Common Ground CSA
Honeoye Falls, NY          woodyw@juno.com
"There is no scarcity abiding in Nature;
Any scarcity we see is our own doing."

On Sat, 23 Aug 1997 09:20:45 -0400 "Dori Green" <funfarm@servtech.com>
>Well, after seven years of trying to get an involved core group and
>fully-functional CSA started here at my farm near New York State's #3
>tourist destination, I'm taking a year off.
>I am putting my energy into my full-time temporary off-farm job and
>becoming a permanent employee there or elsewhere, fixing up the house 
>taming the perennial gardens so that the place is in saleable 
>rather than sagging because I've been out pulling weeds instead of 
>and painting trim, and doing some serious traveling and investigation 
>other places to live.  I am seriously leaning toward selling the farm 
>relocating someplace where mindsets are a teeny bit more slanted 
>community -- I'm about equally attracted at this point to Ithaca, NY 
>40 miles away) and Vancouver, BC or maybe Seattle, WA.
>I'm not quitting, just pulling back and not making any more big 
>efforts.  I will accept 10 CSA participants for next year.  Minimum
>financial commitment is $300 for the year, minimum time commitment is
>attendance at eight two-hour planting and weeding parties.  There are
>almost 200,000 people within twenty miles of me and I am the only 
>farm in that area -- think I can find 10 who will make those 
>Of my fifteen members for this year, ten signed up for working shares. 
> Not
>one of them ever showed up to work.  The minimum financial commitment 
>supposed to be $100, seven paid half and promised to pay the other 
>within 30 days.  Next week is the final $6.25 delivery on the $50 
>not one of them ever sent that other check despite two friendly 
>so they're not getting any more produce once their credit is used up.
>People around here -- and not just around here, I know, it's a 
>Epidemic -- just are addicted to convenience and don't want to do 
>for themselves any more.  The one remaining U-pick farm in our area is
>going under, this year he did less than 20% as much planting as he has 
>previous years.  He's selling everything now to the processing plant 
>at 25%
>of what he got from the U-pick folks.
>My CSA folks have been pushing and complaining since the beginning 
>they want me to deliver the stuff to their door as well as grow it 
>any help -- and not pay anything for the labor or the delivery.  
>Cooking it
>for them and delivering at mealtime would be a plus.  I guess I could 
>it for them, too.  I'm "too far out" -- a whole five miles from town.
>I still think that I've been doing the right thing, just maybe in the 
>place and certainly with the wrong group of people.  So I'm backing 
>before I become as bitter and resentful as every single one of the old
>farmers I know.  When I asked one of them recently why he hasn't gone 
>IPM and transitioned to organics he actually replied "So what if the 
>poisons 'em [the people buying his crops] -- they haven't cared that 
>working until I'm sick in all kinds of weather and going out of 
>and losing my home because they won't pay a fair price for what I 
>Chills went up and down my spine at his bitter and heartbroken words.  
>will certainly quit before I get to that point -- but I sure know 
>how he feels.
>Dori Green:  Writer, Farmer, Facilitator
>Ash Grove Community Farm & Center for Sustainable Living
>(presently closed for reconstruction)