Community Farmers Convene in America's Heartland


For dozens of reasons, it’s time to convene in America’s heartland a conference of farmers involved in Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA).

Thanks to the artful community collaboration of 15 farm organizations* –  anchored by the Wisconsin Farmers Union –  just such a gathering will happen December 3-4, 2015, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin: The Midwest CSA Conference: Moving Forward Together.

Community cooperationTo understand the context and the importance of the conference, I spoke by phone with some of the key conveners: Dan Guenthner of Common Harvest Farm, Mike Racette of Spring Hill Community Farm, Sarah Lloyd of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, and Margaret Krome of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.

From those conversations I gleaned a list of some of the meaningful topics that will for certain arise for discussion as CSA farmers gather. Here’s a sampler of some key topics that will arise:

CSA is a unique model and thus deserves it’s own special gathering every couple of years to refresh the vision.  Are CSA farms just a passing agrarian fantasy, or can they serve as enduring cornerstones for community and ecosystem renewal in our region and beyond?  CSA is continuing to evolve as a resilient model in an era of rapid change.

Historically CSA conferences have proven to be powerful tools for connection and collaboration. They are forums for farmers to come together, to debrief from the season just ending, to share their successes, their trials and their tribulations, and to get their batteries recharged. The Midwest CSA conference will offer a sanctuary for collective exploration of the dynamic business, societal and cultural elements that are part of community supported agriculture. It will also be an opportunity to take the pulse of the movement, and to recognize our common interests and challenges.

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