- Vegetables: beets, garlic, onions
- Crop Production: cropping systems
- Farm Business Management: community-supported agriculture
- Production Systems: agroecosystems
Farmers face impacts of climate change including heat waves, wildfire, drought and flooding, diminishing farmer health, safety and well-being and farm economic viability. We need ways to adapt centering environmental stewardship, economic viability and farmer quality of life to avoid small-scale farmer attrition. This research will explore the following questions: 1.) is growing long season storage crops for winter csas economically viable on small-scale diversified farms without undermining sustainable practices, 2) is there a market for winter CSAs, and 3) can shifting to these crops and market channel support farmer well-being and farm economic viability ?
This research will be carried out through investigating economic, social, and environmental factors including: 1.) enterprise analysis and labor tracking 2.) CSA member surveying and 3.) qualitative field notes focused on on-farm practices related to stewardship, health and safety, and quality of life including ability to shift out of fieldwork in unsafe environmental scenarios, and overall satisfaction/well-being.
This research will
- offer a case study of the viability of long season crops and winter CSAs on small, diversified farms
- reveal if the crop and market channel shift facilitates health and well-being and adaptability to acute climate catastrophes
- assess a new market niche for sustainable agriculture practitioners
- reveal opportunities for farmers to collaborate through mutually beneficial CSA marketing
- center farmer well-being within diversified agriculture.
Outcomes will be shared through a report, video and presentations for extension agents, agricultural professionals and farmers in collaboration with UC Cooperative Extension, Community Alliance with Family Farmers and Kitchen Table Advisors.
Project objectives from proposal:
1. Determining the economic viability of diversified, long-season storage and dried crop production on small-scale, high labor, diversified farms as an adaptation strategy to climate extremes (heat waves, fires, and droughts) and the untenable work conditions they create.
2. Determining if there is a market for winter CSAs in California and is there a gap in the market to be filled?
3. A look into farmer well-being - determining if a shift in crop focus to long-season storage and dried crops in a diversified system truly facilitates a reduction in fieldwork hours and physical labor during the increasing hot months of summer, and expanded fire season. Is this a viable system for farmers facing climate extremes and weather changes that mean where they farm today is a much different climate than when they initially began this work? Do these labor patterns feel more manageable, thus reducing farmer attrition as climate extremes worsen?