Dan reflects on the CSA movement, and how it has grown and changed since its inception, and the challenges that even CSA farms with a deep focus on community have faced as local and organic produce has become more widely available. We discuss some of the ways that Dan and Margaret have built their CSA on community organizing and shared values in an effort to break out of the marketing paradigm, and how they are working to get even deeper into this heart of the CSA movement now.
Dan also digs into how he has built the production system at Common Harvest Farm, including a foray into draft animal production, and the investment strategy that has supported the development of a highly efficient farm, in terms of both labor and energy use.
BCS America: BCS two-wheel tractors are versatile, maneuverable in tight spaces, light-weight for less compaction, and easy to maintain and repair on farm. Gear-driven and built to last for decades of dependable service on your farm or market garden.
Farmers Web: Making it simple for farms, farm cooperatives, and local food artisans to streamline working with wholesale buyers. Lessening the administrative work that comes with each order helps producers create a more successful relationship with their buyers and can help them work with more buyers overall.
Quotes from the Show
People really do want to be invited to be part of something. I think maybe in many ways, we're not asking enough of our members.
For us, this is about values and this is about relationships and it was about community.
If you're trying to fill up your CSA for this year, you're really thinking in the wrong term.
I find it interesting today how many CSA farmers use the word "customer" when they talk about their community rather than members. That may seem like an insignificant thing. People are like, "What's the difference?" It represents two entirely different orientations. One is more of a market orientation and one really comes out of a different approach to build on this community organizing and social justice and values, values orientation.
The one thing that we [as CSA farmers] can consistently do better than almost any other type of orientation to organic food is based upon relationship, that we can connect, we can be connected, we can be vulnerable, we can offer this authentic, this really authentic connection and experience.
When you think about all of the anonymity in the industrial food system, it's basically built on obfuscation and disconnection.
[Regarding farming with horses] In the end, I thought, "If maybe this romantic notion of being deeply connected
to nature is jeopardizing our livelihood here, then I really have to think twice about that."
Personally, I just think that's one of the most enjoyable parts about organic farming in general is that it's not prescriptive. We're not following this pre-determined set of rules or something, it really is about observation and experimentation and that takes a lot of different forms.