Donald - what Beth said. We also had a diverse marketing strategy. In
order to provide sufficient diversity to our shareholders, and not
overwhelm them with produce, we planted enough to do farmers markets and
still supply a couple of restaurants.
Sustainability has as much to do with sustaining the farm family as it does
with the land resource. Multple markets and diversity help the economic
sustainability of the farm. This is not to say we viewed aour shareholders
as simply another market. We had an open budget and discussed the
economics of farming. Our shareholders totally supported our attending
farmers markets. Had they thought otherwise, they would have had the
responsibility of coming up with additional money or selling more shares.
The former was not economically feasible for them and the later would have
changed the share diversity.
Having said that. There is a definite difference in how CSA is
accomplished and thought of between the East and West coasts. The East is
clearly more traditional with core groups hiring farmers. The West is more
farmer driven and, in some cases, is seen as a marketing and cashflow tool
rather than a community building experience. Of course, there are blends
of both everywhere.
The one caution I would make is to decide which is your primary
market/alligence. I found I needed different planting schemes for CSA,
farmers' markets, and restaurants. Because we wanted to build community as
part of the farms mission, we chose to crop for the CSA. This affected what
we took to market, and had us cut down on the number of restaurant clients
Marcie A. Rosenzweig
Full Circle Organic Farm
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