Running a Successful CSA Workshop

As interest in local food grows by leaps and bounds many individuals are thinking about starting a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture, a program in which members purchase shares and receive a basket of produce each week from a farmer. This provides the farmer with a guaranteed market and allows them to focus on growing food while spending less time at farmers’ markets selling it. A CSA can take many forms and involves some real challenges. Many CSAs don’t succeed.

With this in mind we are offering “The Ultimate CSA Workshop” to help people who are planning to run a CSA successfully realize their vision. The course is designed for people who want to start a CSA immediately rather than spending many seasons volunteering or doing internships to learn the trade.

The workshop will be a fun, intense, motivating week with on-going support during the participant’s first year. There are a limited number of spots so we suggest you sign up early.

Growing and providing healthy local food is one of the most rewarding pursuits available today and we want to ensure your CSA is successful. This workshop is the foundation of that commitment.

 

Date and Cost

The workshop will run in the fall of 2016 (to be determined by the preferences of interested participants.) The $2,250 fee will include all food, accommodations and learning materials. In advance of the workshop we will work with participants to help find programs or organizations that may help off-set the cost of the program.

The program will be a combination of hands-on and traditional learning. We recommend that you come equipped to take notes, by hand or electronically. We will provide course outlines on each of the topics. You will leave with a complete set of our books including our “All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook.”

The Location

This workshop will be held at Sunflower Farm Renewable Energy Retreat in Eastern Ontario. Our farm is powered entirely by sun and wind. We heat with carbon neutral wood harvested from our land. You will be housed in our guesthouse. Vegetarian meals will include as much of our own organic food as possible. As we are surrounded by thousands of acres of bush our location provides the perfect environment for creative inspiration.

Program for the Week

The course outline is available upon request. Send an email to michelle at gmail dot com for more details.

On-Going Support

Part of the benefit of our workshop is that your participation will provide you with access to our resources for the first year of your CSA. We will be available to answer questions after you leave the workshop and help you address specific challenges as they arise during the season. A CSA will offer many unique “opportunities” to overcome and we will be here to provide you with the support you need. Having a partner just to talk through problems and listen to your ideas for how to solve them will be a huge benefit. Knowing you’ve got resources behind you to help you through the bumpy patches can make all the difference in the world in taking on a project like establishing a CSA.

We will also arrange a weekly Sunday evening “Go-To” video chat with all workshop participants. So once a week we’ll all sit down, take a minute from the fields and chat about how things are going. What’s working? What’s not? If others are faced with the same challenges we’ll be able to offer ideas for dealing with them. Let’s brainstorm with the group rather than feel you’re taking on these challenges as an individual.

 

QUESTIONS? Please send an email to michelle at gmail dot com!

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About Us

We’ve been successfully running our own businesses since 1987. We’ve been growing food for 35 years. We have published books about renewable energy and sustainable living for the past decade. We have run a market garden, sold at farmers’ markets and run the highly successful “Sunflower Farm CSA.” We have lived off-grid for almost two decades and we are used to dealing with an endless stream of challenges as they arise. We have put our decades worth of business experience and growing food into a concentrated workshop that allows participants to leave with the tools they need to start a successful CSA.

Many CSA fail in the first few years. Part of this is missing opportunities, misdirecting energy, not making efficient use of limited resources, and feeling that the challenges are insurmountable.  Our workshop will give new CSAs effective strategies to avoid some of these mistakes. It will also provide an on-going resource network to help address the endless challenges as they arise so CSAs are successful, and the market place is provided with the healthy, local food that so many people are wanting.

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