Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Cold Rain

January 22, 2008
This gray and rainy day finds me indoors, chipping away at the task of organizing our farm records and trying to set up a better system to keep track of things this year than we had last year. Last year, we did what we could; this year will reap the benefits of our previous struggle. Now I know what I need lists of. Now I have some idea of how to structure it. Bless God for spreadsheets. Or the god-part that lives in whatever techie brainstormed spreadsheets. Which is to say that spreadsheets are wonderful. All those little columns and rows. So neatly laid out. So easy to edit. So pre-formatted and ready to go. Ahhhhh. Beats the hell out of the pen-and-paper, where-the-hell-did-I-put-that-list, pass-me-the-ruler system I had last year. Scheeze, and yea!

Memberships have begun to trickle in. I put out the call last week to last year's folks and we're up to 7 return-ees now. They've got one more week before I open up the flood gates to newbies. I hope to get many more back again--I think we will. I like returning members. We had a lot of satisfied folks last season. We'll satisfy some more this go-round.

It's a good thing the memberships have begun to flow because our finances are dwindling much like the land in late winter. The seed order is coming up soon, which'll be a large chunk of change, and we need to invest in a truckload of finished compost for the garden (upwards of $1000). Oh, and Kevin and I need to get paid. Yeah, don't forget that. Plus, there's greenhouse supplies, equipment. Funding to send us to the GA Organics Conference in late February (which we applied for scholarships for) so's we can learn to be better farmers and can network with other farmers. Lots of early-season costs in farming. That's one reason why CSA's are so damn awesome--the money comes in when you need to spend it--at the beginning. No more borrowing capital in the hopes that you might make it back. No more fretting on finance. It's wonderful. Thanks to our amazing community members who understand and are willing to do the unusual and pay for 4 months of food 2 months before any of it appears, we can run this farm and make our small organic farming venture successful. Wow. Brilliant. I love our folks.

I also love our work-traders. This year, we already have them coming out once a week--in January! Powerful, the amount of work they do and how much they help us get done. I just want to hug 'em. Usually, I do. We planned for 3-4 full-trade members this season. The 4 spots are spoken for already and I'm just tickled it's going so well. I've got 3 field hands/pickup organizers and 1 outside sales person. Now all we need is a part-time volunteer coordinator and we'll be set. Ooohwee. So exciting.

The volunteer coordinator will be nice. We need volunteer labor and we realized last year that for it to be efficient and effective, it had to be organized. People coming out any hour of any day just doesn't work. We have to have tasks lined up, adequate instruction and supervision. Yeah. There are some things that require lots of folks and lots of hands--for those things we need a posse of volunteers. Other things require few folks and few hands--those tasks are good for us and our regular work-traders and harvest volunteers. And still other things require just one of us and many hours alone to deal with it--then I need peace. That, or someone else to direct my volunteer laborers. It's a delicate balance of needing both the help and the days without it to gather ourselves and our tasks and get things done. So hopefully, we'll get our labor co-ordinator and s/he can line up people when we need them. Then we'll be glad to see them; they'll be glad to work; appropriate tasks will get accomplished; and we'll all go home happy at night. May it be so.

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