Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE00-331
This project proposes to expand an existing community-supported agriculture model to include raspberries, cut flowers, free-range eggs, and poultry as a way of keeping more food dollars in the community and to encourage seasonal eating. One of the outcomes of the project will be a booklet that will set forth and analyze the costs and revenues of the expansion.
The farmer attempted to create a subscription program based on three products–eggs, flowers, and raspberries. Memberships were available for each of these products or for more than one. The farm itself is a nonprofit environmental education center and organic farm that hosts community events, field trips, and a summer day camp.
The farmer believes that the success of the community-supported agriculture model is a result of satisfying a community’s need for fresh, local, affordable food. As designed, however, the Bird, Blossom & Berry program did not supply a sufficient diversity of products, and a cold, late spring slowed delivery. Raspberry production did not meet expected levels and there were administrative challenges related to the poor weather and staggered pickups. The farmer reports that it may have been too much of a burden to ask consumers to make special trips and specific times for a limited number of items; the more traditional CSA model, which offers shares of everything that is in season, is more satisfying for members. Although the subscription program was disappointing, one option being considered is to combine the subscription program with the summer camp. This would make it more practical for members to pick up shares during the six-week camp program, since they are coming to the farm anyway, and also makes it less likely for members to forget their pickup time.