Starting a CSA from scratch six years ago wasn’t easy. There were so many things to learn: how to build a customer base, how to structure our CSA, how to plant a variety of vegetables so we’d have enough each week, CSA logistics, customer retention, communication snafus, building loyalty and vision with our customers, managing growing pains, website and technology helps, increasing equipment needs, developing efficiencies in farming, and staffing issues. Along the way, we had lots of help — in the form of mentors, conference workshops, hired farm consultants, and special CSA seminars and forums. Add to that, the fact that Farmer Kurt was working a full-time job elsewhere, and the CSA was just our side-gig! Five years later, in 2013, Farmer Kurt was able to grow the CSA to a size that allowed him to become a full-time farmer, and we are finally living the dream!
We felt it was very important to grow our CSA in stages over time — to slowly build up the infrastructure year after year, learn from our mistakes and play off our strengths. Over the last 5 years, we have developed a unique understanding of how a healthy CSA operates. We are also unique in that we have successfully built a self-sustaining farm operation from scratch while working another full-time job elsewhere. This may the situation for many other would-be farmers out there, and you may be wondering how in the world you are going to pull it off. We believe in the CSA model, especially if it’s done with excellence. We believe it can have the power to transform communities and your farm. And we believe it can be built with time and under certain conditions even if you have another job. We welcome the opportunity to be a resource in the building of other CSAs around our region. We would love to share our experience with other enterprising farmers, including any insights and practical resources we have to help others build a CSA in their community. Our consulting services offer field production and mapping resources (how and what to plant and how much), growing techniques, marketing ideas, communication tools, newsletter templates, materials/equipment lists, and other tricks of the trade we have learned over the years. We offer very reasonable fees, and would be willing to travel to your community to visit. We also offer our speaking services for conference workshops.
Kurt and Corinna Bench