Re: Farmers' Market-Based CSA? (fwd)
Thu, 06 Jun 1996 08:07:17 CDT

This sounds a lot like the Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance in Lawrence
KS. Except it's subscription, people pay as they receive. I think
innovation like this is really important; people starting local
alternative food systems need to pay as much or more attention to their
local situation as to how others have done things.
You can find out more about the RPFA by contacting the Kansas Rural
Center, Box 3747, Lawrence KS 66046.
We are in our second year as one veg. garden and several other producers,
and we will soon start to plan how to include more veg. producers. If we
can find an appropriate spot for pick-up (maybe the farmers mkt?), I'm
hoping we put together products from specialists (strawberries, sweet
corn...) and generalists based on pre-season planning and continuing
coordination. Maybe pay the producers 2/3s up front, and hold the rest
back to pay for what actually gets distributed... The first season or two
would be very interesting, I'm sure.

> Subject: Farmers' Market-Based CSA?
> Hello,
> Has anyone ever heard of a "farmers' market-based CSA?" I was just
> considering the possibility of combining these two marketing strategies in
> some way so that vendors and their farmers' markets could generate
> additional early season income, and shareholders could get greater variety
> than at more conventional CSAs.
> For example, let's say 10 farmers' market vendors as a group (including
> bakers, food processors as well as growers), take on 50 shareholders at
> $500/share for the duration of the farmers' market (e.g., 25 weeks). Of the
> $25,000 generated from the sale of shares at the beginning of the season,
> $2,000 goes to each grower (for a total of $20,000) and $5,000 would go to
> the market for helping to facilitate the CSA. For their investment, the
> shareholders would receive a given share of the produce, bread, jams,
> sauces, etc. from the participating vendors.
> This is purely hypothetical, of course, and I see several problems (1) it's
> not really a CSA since there is a less direct connection between consumers
> and the farm-its more like a subscription; (2) the economics don't seem to
> make sense to me yet; and (3) the benefits to each party are not clear.
> Would anyone like to take a stab at critiquing this marriage in concepts,
> and give me some sense of whether this is worth pursuing in some
> experimental fashion?
> Thanks,
> Duncan Hilchey
> Farming Alternatives Program
> Cornell University

Jeff Hall