Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Confidence and Satisfaction

January 20, 2010

At the SSAWG conference this week, learning about farming from other farmers. Today, I spent time in a CSA workshop, and I am left with questions of grower confidence and customer
satisfaction. We've been thinking of offering a smaller share to our members. Most of our shares are split between two or more folks, and we've been considering that perhaps our people would be happier with smaller, individual shares. Studies show that many folks who don't sign up again for a CSA do so because there was too much food provided in the past. Is that why we had higher turnover this year? Or was it the economy? I don't know. We don't know. But we've been thinking about this smaller share thing, and now I don't know if it's such a good idea. The logistics are frustrating.

Logistics: we currently offer 46 full shares. If we doubled it, that would be 92 smaller shares. The thing is, how do I plant for that? Many of the things we offer, I wouldn't want to give half of. Half the bunch of kale? 2 or 3 radishes? Cut every melon in half? But at the same time, I don't have the land to grow twice as much stuff, or even half again as much stuff. So how do I plant for 92 smaller shares? Do I give people a choice? Radishes or turnips? Kale or kohlrabi? And if so, how do I plant for that? How much kale do I need? How many melons? Which things get bunched together as choices? Which always appear? If we make this decision, then I have to make that choice, and I am foreseeing a giant headache that leaves me feeling as if I'm always disappointing someone, or falling short of the abundance I'd really like to provide. It's not a good feeling to anticipate being immersed in for the next 8 months.

Jeeze louise. To top it off, I emailed my members last week to let them know that we'd be making our CSA decisions soon and to begin thinking of re-joining. And I highlighted the idea of the new, smaller shares. If I change my mind, I feel a bit foolish. If I go ahead with a foolish plan, then we all suffer. Yikes. Hard decision-making sometimes.

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