Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why do members commit for the whole season?

CSA's operate differently from retail buying situations because a farmer must plan the season for a certain number of members, each being offered a share of the harvest which is grown specifically for them. Planting of course, needs to happen several months in advance of harvest (in fact, I am preparing to plant now in July for harvest in fall). So as you can see, the investment on the part of the farmer is a long-term one, even longer than the purchaser of the share.

A CSA applies the term "member" consciously because it indicates a commitment on the part of the person buying the share and the farmer who grows for them. Because, there is a limited number of shares available determined by labor and land restraints, I would have to essentially commit a whole share for the whole season and turn away another who would be interested in commiting to the whole season in order to allow someone to sample a bag for one week. In essence, this is why without each member's prior commitment for the whole season, I cannot plan successfully for the whole CSA membership.

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