Chippewa Falls, WI – On January 10th and 11th, 2012, CSA farmers from across the Midwest will come together on the UW-Eau Claire campus for a two-day conference: Taking Stock – Celebrating Our Success and Planning for the Future.
The Midwest CSA Conference will provide the opportunity for CSA farmers of all sorts and sizes to come together to learn, network, and share experiences through a set of practical workshops, primarily presented by CSA farmers from Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin. They will share first-hand practical knowledge and strategies for success.
Four sets of concurrent sessions will be organized around the themes of: beginning CSA farming; production, packing and distribution logistics; building and cultivating communities through Community Supported Agriculture; and financial management and planning ideas. There will also be time at the conference to discuss the future of the CSA movement in our region.
In addition to presentations from CSA farmers from across the region, there will also be presentations from Cornucopia Institute's Mark Kastel, who will hold a session on guerrilla marketing, Gretchen Perbix from Minnesota State University, who will present information on successfully using social networking and other forms of communication, and Rachel Armstrong from the non-profit Farm Commons, who will address legal issues impacting CSA farmers. We will also hear from Keynote speaker, Tony Schultz, CSA farmer from Stoney Acres Farm in Marathon County, Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Farmers Union is organizing the conference in partnership with: Angelic Organics Learning Center, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, FairShare CSA Coalition, Land Stewardship Project, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services, and UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.
The practical workshops at the conference will be complemented by ample time for networking and also two general sessions where participants will discuss the CSA movement. Specific Practical workshops offered at the conference will include:
• Is CSA Right for Me? Things to Consider for Starting a CSA.
• Production Basics for Beginners - Key systems that CSA farmers have in place to ensure production.
• Filling your box: Figuring out how to plan, provide and price a full season of CSA shares.
• Pick-up Site Logistics – Lessons from on-farm, farmer's market, workplace,
and neighborhood pickup sites.
• Planting to packing - On-farm logistics, efficiencies, tricks, and equipment to get the work done and the boxes filled.
• What's in your box: A moderated round-table discussion of farmers of various sizes about what and how much and how often some common items are in their boxes.
• Mulch systems and weed control for CSA farms.
• Member involvement–Best practices from farm events, field days, and celebrations.
• Incorporating low-income members in your CSA farm - Recipes for success.
• Communicating with members, Websites, newsletters, social media, and blogs.
• Guerilla Marketing your CSA business.
• Measuring the financial success of your CSA I: What indicators should you measure to understand if your CSA’s is heading toward the point of profitability?
• Measuring the financial success of your CSA II - Diversification of your CSA and the CSA model.
• Legalities for CSA farms: Liability, employment and taxes.