Tag Archives: CSA

Save the Date for Open Farm Week 2015: August 3-9

If you are a farmer that wants to sign-up to participate, please visit www.diginvt.com/blog/openfarmweekforfarmers before July 1!

Open Farm Week is August 3-9; a time when many farms and farmers markets are at their peak of production and have a variety of different products to showcase to visitors.
Open Farm Week is August 3-9; a time when many farms and farmers markets are at their peak of production and have a variety of different products to showcase to visitors.

Building off of the success of NOFA Vermont’s 2014 Open CSA Farm Day, several organizations from around the state are coming together to organize Open Farm Week, expanding both the scope and the length of the event.  Our goal is to strengthen consumers’ connections to their growers, while teaching them how to access Vermont-grown products.  We envision this will become an annual event that engages both locals and vacationers in building relationships with our farmers and interest in our amazing working landscape.

Based on feedback from last year’s Open CSA Farm Day, we chose early August as a time when many farms and farmers markets are at their peak of production and have a variety of different products to showcase to visitors.  We also recognize that one specific day might not work well for everyone, so have expanded the event to a whole week to provide the opportunity for farmers and food lovers to participate on whichever day(s) work best. NOFA Vermont has received funding from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmers Market Promotion Program to augment our CSA-focused Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture in order to expand our outreach for this event to all farms that market directly to consumers.

We are excited to be able to promote Vermont certified organic CSAs and farmstands as well as those that are members of NOFA Vermont.  In addition, the Open Farm Week coincides with the annual National Farmers Market Week and we will be promoting markets that are members of the Vermont Farmers Market Association. To find more information or if you are a farmer that wants to sign-up to participate, please visit www.diginvt.com/blog/openfarmweekforfarmers.  The list of participating farms will be updated on a rolling basis.  Sign-ups end July 1 and by mid-July the final list will be set.


NOFA-VT is working with the following partners to organize this event  this event: City Market, Dig In Vermont, the Farm-Based Education Network, the Intervale Center, the Neighboring Food Co-ops Association, Shelburne Farms, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the Vermont Farm to Plate Network Agritourism Task Force, Vermont Farm Tours, the Vermont Farmers Market Association, Vermont FEED, and the Vermont Fresh Network.

Attention CSA Farmers!

NOFA- VT is requesting your input through our ANNUAL CSA SURVEY. We use this information to update the CSA directory on our website and to determine the economic value of CSAs to Vermont agriculture.  This data is aggregated with others’ responses and used in testimony to the Vermont legislature, to compile a report on the success and current status of CSAs in Vermont, and inform our CSA work and advocacy strategies. Check out our report based on last year’s survey: Vermont CSA Report – 2013.

Please note that our policy is to offer CSA directory listings to farms that are either certified organic through Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) or are members of NOFA-VT.  The benefits of NOFA-VT membership extend far beyond your online listing, and include: discounts on workshops, conferences, and our annual bulk order of farming supplies; our quarterly NOFA Notes newsletter; The Natural Farmer quarterly journal; and more! Visit www.nofavt.org/join  to join, or request a membership brochure via e-mail: info@nofavt.org.

Please complete our survey by February 21, 2015.  The survey can be completed online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NOFA2014CSA or you can contact us to request a paper copy.

If you have any questions, please contact us: erin@nofavt.org / michael@nofavt.org / 802-434-4122.

Thank you!

Share the Harvest on October 2!

STH14-socialYou’re invited! We are pleased to announce our collaboration with approximately 70 restaurants, food markets, and food cooperatives throughout Vermont for the 20th annual SHARE THE HARVEST fundraising event. On Thursday, October 2nd, participating restaurants and food stores will donate a percentage of their sales to NOFA-VT’s Farm Share Program.

Our Farm Share Program is dedicated to working with Vermonters who cannot afford to purchase fresh, local produce on a regular basis. All funds raised on October 2nd will benefit these individuals by subsidizing the cost of farm-fresh produce from local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms.

The Farm Share program has been helping limited-income Vermonters purchase food from local farms since 1994. In those 20 years, thousands of individuals and families have benefited from a season’s worth of locally grown vegetables and fruits as well as farm education initiatives. In 2014, we have served over 1,400 individuals and families, leveraging over $73,000 of income for Vermont farmers.

For a listing of participating restaurants, co-ops, and food stores, and to learn more about the Farm Share program visit our website or call NOFA-VT at 802-434-4122.

Direct Marketing workshops to be combined into Winter Conference

As we are gearing up for our winter educational offerings, we wanted to share that we have decided to not host a Direct Marketing Conference in 2015. Instead, based on feedback from past Winter Conferences, we will offer more direct marketing workshops in our commercial farmer track at the 2015 Winter Conference. These workshops will focus on issues relevant to farmers’ market vendors, and CSA and farm stand farmers. We hope that by re-combining these two conferences, more of you will be able to benefit from the workshops that have been spread out between two conferences in the past!

UVM's Davis Center serves as the conference hub. (Credit Elizabeth Ferry)The Request for Proposals (RFP) for Winter Conference workshops is currently open through September 15, 2014.

Even if you don’t have a workshop you would like to present yourself, we are also looking for feedback on specific workshops or presenters that you’d like us to consider for the 2015 Winter Conference. If you have ideas or suggestions, please contact our new Education Coordinator, Rachel Fussell as soon as possible, with a deadline of September 15th.

You may have noticed that I didn’t mention farmers’ market organizers in my workshop audience list above. We haven’t forgotten you! We will be collaborating with the Vermont Farmers’ Market Association (VTFMA) to host a day of workshops and the VTFMA Annual Meeting in March 2015. We will be sending more information later this fall on that event so please be on the lookout!

Lastly, we are looking forward to hearing from you after the Winter Conference about how this new set-up worked for you. While nine years ago we started a separate Direct Marketing Conference in order to accommodate more attendees when space at the Winter Conference venues was our major limiting factor, we are excited to again try to meet your needs by bringing the two conferences back together now that space is not an issue. Your feedback will help us determine if this is the best option moving forward or if we need to look at additional possibilities.

We look forward to hearing from you!

[By Erin Buckwalter,  Market Development and Community Food Security Coordinator]

CSA Open Farm Day!

CSA-OH14Have you ever been curious if a CSA is right for you but aren’t sure where to start? To learn more about CSAs and meet the farmers, join NOFA-VT and over 50 Vermont farms in our Open CSA Farm Day, Sunday May 4th from 1-4pm. During this time, CSAs across the state will open their doors for tours, questions & answers with the farmers, tastings, demonstrations and more!

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is a type of direct marketing relationship between farmers and subscription consumers. CSAs invite consumers to directly support a farm or group of farms by purchasing a seasonal share of goods. Many CSAs in Vermont offer produce while some also offer meats, eggs, and other goods.

There are many different types of CSAs to fit different needs. Do you like experimenting with new vegetables? A classic “box” share, in which the farmer determines the each week’s share based on what’s in season, may be great for you. If you feel less adventurous or have a list of veggies you don’t like, maybe a “free choice” share would be a better fit. Many people enjoy going to the farm each week to pick up their share, while others prefer the convenience of a home or worksite delivery. Some CSAs offer products from multiple farms and may bring in “extras” like bread or cheese. Some farms offer shares only in the summer while others specialize in providing shares all year. Your options will vary depending on where you live and what the farms around you are doing. Visiting a CSA farm and talking with the farmer is a great way to learn more about their CSA and determine if the CSA is right for you!

We hope you will join us in visiting many of the Open CSA Farms on Sunday, May 4th. Everyone is welcome to this family-friendly event! For more information about the farms participating, visit our website or call the office at 802-434-4122.

 

WC Speakers: Maria Reed & Scout Proft from Someday Farm

Scout Proft, owner of Someday Farm.
Scout Proft, owner of Someday Farm.
On a long dirt road in remote East Dorset, Vermont lies Someday Farm, a diversified farm stand that is 25 years in the making. But Someday Farm is more than just a farm – it is also one of the thriving community supported agriculture (CSA) connected farms in the state. Scout Proft, one of the owners of Someday Farm, was one of the scheduled speakers for the TED style talks at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference, but was unable to make it. However, Maria Reed, a Someday Farm partner, stepped in for Proft and delivered an awesome speech that was both educational and inspirational.

“Scout and I have determined we were separated at birth,” Reed joked, as she began to dive into the passions that she and Proft share for farming and innovation. I found Reed’s description of what innovation means to Someday Farm and why they do it to be the most meaningful piece of the presentation, and would like to highlight a few key areas that I think can resonate with farmers throughout the state.

Reed introduced the topic of innovation with one simple question: Why do we innovate? There are countless answers to this question, but there are three main reasons that Someday Farm focuses on, and examples of each:

1. Maximize land usage and increase productivity.

-They strive to use each building to its full potential, for example, using the sugarhouse to dry herbs in the summer when it’s not being used for sugar.

-They barter with and lease from another farm in the community that shares their mutual dreams and goals to increase productivity

2. To keep themselves “refreshed, challenged, and engaged”

-Consistently growing new crops and adding new livestock to see what works. For example, they started with green beans, and have since added bib lettuce and mesclun greens (previously uncommon in Vermont!), asparagus, bees, chickens, and more.

3. For educational purposes. “We view education as a product; a service we can provide to the community”.

-Started a program with the local schools

-Started a community farmstand

-Have hosted and trained young people for 20 years now.

Reed’s speech on behalf of Scout Proft and Someday Farm showed how a strong passion and commitment to do what you love combined with a little innovation can lead to a thriving farm that benefits the community on so many different levels. This can range from an increase in availability of fresh, local food, to educational purposes, and just having a community hub to come to and share knowledge and passions. Continuing to innovate and and grow Vermont communities is “more of a responsibility than a challenge”, Reed states. “We all need to demand Vermont products everywhere we shop.” And of course, “support NOFA!”

Guest blogger: Kristy Ryan