Starting Your CSA
It is a successful farming system that has been spreading all over the world. CSA or Community-Supported Agriculture means Community Supported Agriculture. It consists of local and solidary partnerships between producers and consumers.
Among Several Advantages Of This Purchase Model, The Following Stand Out:
– Contribute to the establishment of the farmer in the countryside, generating income and avoiding rural exodus;
– Know the origin of the products that are consumed;
– Fair price for those who sell and those who buy because there are no intermediaries;
– Quality of food to be harvested just before delivery;
– Provide an associative and collaborative economy;
– Rescue and encourage rural culture for the families involved.
Community-supported farming actions, commonly called CSAs, are a way for farmers and consumers to come together to help farms combine production with their markets. CSA subscribers pre-purchase a portion of the farm’s growing season in exchange for products for a specified number of weeks in the season. Some farms have actions of spring, summer, autumn, and even winter. There is usually a delivery site or sites where CSA members pick up their weekly shares or they arrive directly at the farm.
Starting Your CSA
Once you’ve decided to start a CSA, it’s time to set it up. I am assuming that you already have a farm and are producing some vegetables, perhaps selling at a farmers market and/or to a local grocery store or food cooperative or restaurant. Maybe you’re even attacking vegetables. The first step in starting a CSA is to think hard about how you want to structure your shares. How many weeks will you have in your season? (It’s probably a good idea to start with just the summer season and add more as demand grows).
Next, you will want to consider the logistics. Many CSAs require full prepayment, but some are offering the option of sending payment over several months for a slightly higher cost. Although you don’t get as much cash flow benefit, it can make the difference between selling a stock or not, so carefully consider whether you can handle the cash flow difference in exchange for potentially more customers.
You will also need to find out how customers will receive their shares. Will they come to the farm? Will you organize delivery sites? Will you deliver your shares to the subscribers’ homes? You could even have the farmers’ market being your pick-up spot.
Who will pack the boxes or bags and when will it be done? You will need to make sure that your product is harvested as close to departure time as possible. You may need to refrigerate your CSA boxes until collection. Think about whether you will require shareholders to return the empty box from the previous week to minimize their investment in packaging, or whether shareholders provide their bags and pack their shares when they arrive.
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