Research indicates that many Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms are experiencing member retention rates between 50% and 60%, while other farms see retention rates as high as 90%. A low rate of retention makes it difficult for a CSA farm to thrive and grow and may endanger the whole CSA movement as people try CSA and decide the concept is not right for them. The CSA Expert Exchange online conference will broadly explore the reasons people join and leave CSAs and how to increase member satisfaction by drawing on the best practices utilized by CSA experts from across the country.
The CSA Expert Exchange (www.csafarmconference.com) is an online conference co-presented by Small Farm Central and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) occurring live on March 15th, 2013 from 11am to 4pm EST. Nationwide, the conference is expected to engage between 500-1000 CSA farmers. The conference will be accessible via any web browser; attendees will be available to watch video of presenters, view powerpoint slides, and interact via chat to ask questions. The fee is $45 and registration is open at csafarmconference.com. The first 100 registrations will receive a $5 discount off the normal price.
Presenters include Elizabeth Henderson, noted CSA pioneer and author (“Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Support Agriculture”), who will discuss the importance of community involvement within her CSA in Newark, NY. Jody and Jean-Paul from Roxbury Farm will explore CSA farm profitability through specialized equipment and “right-scaling” the farm. Other sessions will focus specifically on successful techniques for retaining members and the importance of member education that goes beyond sharing recipes.