This single printed sheet is the other farming thing on my mind this time of year. It’s the CSA sign-up form, filled in by new members and past shareholders renewing their stake in the harvest. I don’t do any advertising, just word of mouth and leaving off sheets at a handful of local spots. The goal is to have near 100% renewals, but we’re still expanding, aiming for 50 shareholders this season. I don’t think of this as the “business” end. Like the farm stand and farmers’ market stall, it’s another equal part of tiny farming, same as planting, cultivating, harvesting, sharing, eating. By buying into the whole season in advance, and picking up their weekly shares, CSA members become as much a part of growing veggies as if they were out weeding in the field (which some of them are planning to do as well this year).
Money is important, for buying seed (for now!), adding and repairing gear, paying bills, but it is not the end goal, it’s part of the larger process: planting seeds, growing food, sharing it, starting all over again, and enjoying every bit of the trip! “Sales” is just one part of that, and cash is only part of sales, the positive energy that comes from the direct exchange with people is as much a driving force for me as food in my stomach or gas in the rototiller! CSA is also great because you’re not worried about growing crops to meet the fixed buying habits and whims of the week at the farmers’ market, you can concentrate on a diversity of crops and unusual varieties, and generally focus on growing, not chasing sales. Anyhow, I thought of keeping TFB strictly to the production side, but that really isn’t the whole picture. This is more like it!