Weekly Farm Update, 14 December 2012

Important Notice:

 Before I forget and start writing about other (more interesting) things, please note that due to Christmas and New Year we have to change the delivery days from Thursday to Friday for both weeks (transport issues).

Last Wednesday Frank and I went to Palmerston North to join Sita Venkateswar,

International Director at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and more important, also one of our very supportive CSA members in Palmie at the XIX Australian NZ Agri-Food Conference “ Histories/Futures” that was being held at Massey this week.

Together, Sita and Frank presented a paper about our experience setting up and running a CSA in NZ with our Palmerston North hub as a little case study. (see abstract).  


Community Supported Agriculture: a Palmerston North case study

In recent years, community supported agriculture (CSA) initiatives have proliferated across the world as examples of efforts by communities to exert local control over the fresh foods that they consume.  CSAs link consumers directly to the growers, eliminating the presence of the big supermarket chains from the loop.  Often also a part of  organic foods movements that aim to be ecologically sensitive and environmentally responsible, CSAs enable consumers to  know more about the source of the foods they consume, how it is grown, to eat seasonally and for the growers to have a predictable and steady base of consumers for the products they grow.

This presentation looks closely at one such CSA and a small group of consumers in Palmerston North, some of whom remain devoted to the initiative to maintain their membership despite the occasional ups and down in the system.  It also draws on the experiences of others who were initially interested but were unable to maintain their involvement for a variety of reasons.  Through the discussion derived from this presentation, we aim to identify the ways in which CSAs can extend their reach towards broader community support for local food production systems.

Although it was a hard decision to leave Matt, Justus and Albert to their own on one of our busiest days of the year (CSA pack, wholesalers and cherry harvesting), once we were on the road we so much enjoyed having a day ‘off’, enjoying time to talk while driving and once at the conference, enjoying the other participants and all the brain food that we had forgotten all about (this happens when you spent a lot of time in between the plants and the animals).

I think we absorbed it all like huge dry sponges, waiting to be filled, but also waiting to give back. We realised during the day that we and especially Frank have so much to offer.  Frank is not just a grower but also has the academic background to easily fit in, and our farming system is exactly the type of ‘centre of creative innovation‘that the key note speaker of the morning was talking about; an example of “the Bio-Economy” where biotechnical knowledge, renewable biomass and integration across disciplines are brought together.

We practice this kind of future every day as much as possible and although we can still do much better we are hard on the road the be this kind of future farm.

( I wanted to include Frank's powerpoint presentation at this point, but I am giving up _ no idea how to insert that into a webpage!)

Anyway, we, our CSA and our talk together with Sita fitted in so very well. Thank you Sita for suggesting and putting together this wonderful opportunity! We’ll have to do it again soon!

Your CSA shares this week:

Fruit Shares: 500 grams of cherries.

Small Veggie Shares: 200 grams of salad mix, 200 grams of Cavalo Nero, 300 grams baby Turnips or 2-3 larger ones, either 100 grams sugar snap peas, 150 grams Snow Peas, 200 grams Beans or 800 grams Broad Beans, and 1 Pak Choy.

Large Veggie Shares: 200 grams of salad mix, 200 grams of Cavalo Nero, 300 grams baby Turnips or 2-3 larger ones, either 100 grams sugar snap peas, 150 grams Snow Peas, 200 grams Beans or 800 grams Broad Beans, 300 grams Daikon Radish, a bag of Spinach or Rocket, 1 Cucumber, 1 Broccoli, 200 grams of Red Russian Kale, and 1 Pak Choy.

Have a great week,

Josje and the farm team