Online Conference to Focus on Crop Planning Strategies for CSA Operations

February 12, 2014

CSA Expert Exchange will feature discussion by Pam Dawling

MILLHEIM, PA. February 11, 2014 -  The CSA Expert Exchange is an online conference co-presented by Small Farm Central and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). Nationwide, the conference is expected to engage between 250-300 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmers. The conference will be accessible via any web browser; attendees will be available to view slides and interact via chat to ask questions. This year’s pricing and registration are available at csafarmconference.com.

The CSA Expert Exchange will feature sessions over the course of two days, Thursday, March 6 (7:00-9:30pm EST) and Friday, March 7 (11am-3:30pm EST). You can choose to participate live or watch the archived version at your convenience. Sessions on March 6 will be targeting beginning farmers in the early stages of setting up and managing a CSA operation.

The main event on March 7 will offer four, one-hour sessions with shorter presentations in-between focusing on topics such as marketing & social media, legal issues around CSA operations, crop planning and CSA coalitions.

Many farmers would list proper crop planning, management and consistent quantities as a main challenge in operating a CSA. Pam Dawling of Twin Oaks Community in Louise, Virginia, will present a step-by-step approach to closing the planning circle.

An avid vegetable grower for almost 40 years, she has lived at Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia for over 20 years, growing vegetables and berries for 100 people on 3.5 acres, and providing training for members in sustainable vegetable production.

Dawling’s book, Sustainable Market Farming, is a comprehensive manual for farmers raising organic crops sustainably on  few acres. As well as providing detailed profiles of a full range of crops, common pests and diseases, harvest & storage; information about season extension & disease resistant variety; and farm business skills to ensure a profitable enterprise. Her presentation will be part of the CSA Expert Exchange agenda on Friday, March 8.

Conceived by Robyn Van En as an antidote to industrial, mono-crop agriculture, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) concept offers farms the opportunity to become centers of more sustainable communities. CSA has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Generally a farmer offers a certain number of shares or memberships to the public for purchase. Each share may consist of a box of vegetable or other farm products that the member picks up on a scheduled basis.

Other presenters for the CSA Expert Exchange include:
David Liker of Gorman Farm, Columbia, MD
Karla Pankow of Bossy Acres, Northfield, MN
Rachel Armstrong of Farm Commons
Chris Brockel of FairShare CSA Coalition
Michael Kilpatrick of Kilpatrick Family Farm, Middle Granville, NY

Full details about the CSA Expert Exchange: An Online Conference are available at csafarmconference.com.

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About Small Farm Central

Small Farm Central is a leading technology provider to small-scale farms across the U.S. and Canada. Started by an former CSA farmer, Small Farm Central provides farm websites, CSA member management services, and more to help increase the economic sustainability of small-scale farmers by creating professional and engaging experiences for the farm’s customers. Small Farm Central’s Member Assembler technology is built to manage the office side of the CSA from online member signup and payment processing to box packing and delivery logistics.  For more information, visit smallfarmcentral.com.

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