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EcoFarm and CSA

March 9, 2010

Nadine and I were lucky enough to attend the EcoFarm Conference down in California a few months ago, and it was awesome. The conference is a 3-day gathering of all walks of life (but yes, a large number of hippies), with workshops and panels and discussions all centered around sustainable agriculture. It’s a big deal in the agriculture circle, and I learned a lot.

I could bore you all with reports about soil nutrition, and small farms vs. big farms politics, and how to keep sheep in orchards, and organic pest control, but instead I’m going to focus on one workshop that I attended that focused specifically on CSA projects.

The founder of LocalHarvest.org (a directory of local food information, and the most complete and widely used list of CSAs in the country), Guillermo Payet, gave a presentation about the present state and the future of the CSA model, and packed his slides full of what I found to be very interesting and persuasive numbers. A sampling of those numbers and statistics is what I wanted to share with you all:

– there are currently around 3,220 CSAs operating in the US

– the average-sized CSA in the US has 96 members, but the mean is 47… and beyond that, there are only 60 CSAs in the country with more than 500 members

– out of 79 million households in the US, 390,000 (or .5%) are members of CSAs

– based on current numbers, in the next 10 years we could experience 10 times worth of growth, meaning that there would be 3.9 millions household CSA members… that would mean something along the lines of $1.7 billion being channeled into local economies…

Thanks to LocalHarvest for gathering this information.

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