Friday, December 7, 2007

New CCSA Opportunity in St. Louis

There is a new Combined Community Supported Agriculture (CCSA) in the St. Louis region starting up for May 2008. Fair Shares will include local produce, meat, dairy, mushrooms, honey, bread, pasta, chocolate, cider and preserved foods, such jams and pickles, etc. The CSA is currently looking for producers to serve the CSA.

The plan for Fair Share is to run the CCSA throughout the year, which may help some producers who lack the customer base in the leaner winter months. This may also encourage some farmers to grow extra crops for canning, as we would love to offer subscribers that "summer in a jar" flavor.

Sara Hale is heading up the business venture and had this to say:

The way we see this working is to have commitments from a number of farmers, who will agree to supply a particular number of shares each week with their
products. That number and which products would be up to them, but we would agree it at the beginning of the year (or season). If we had 200 shares per week (that's our goal to start), and a farmer could supply product to 50 shares per week, we would find three other farmers with the same product, or else that product would be available on a rotation. For example, lamb for 50, beef for 50, pork for 50, buffalo for 50. Next week, rotate. The vegetable crops will be a bit trickier to organize, with the factor of seasonality. Therefore, working out the details and having a commitment by winter will be necessary for everyone to plan next year's crops accordingly. (If this is too late, let me know!)

Our business plan includes donating a certain number of shares, and seeking corporate sponsorship and grants, to help feed low-income families, and working with organizations who share the same goal. Anyone with ideas, resources, experience or suggestions on this aspect, please contact me.

Our next step is to send out surveys and collect information on what the consumers in our area are interested in for a CSA. We plan to approach some larger businesses in St. Louis who might be interested in presenting this as an employee benefit, and who may be willing to grant some corporate sponsorship.

If you are interested in this new CCSA please contact Sara Hale:

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