This week marked the first time (ever!) that Eatwell Farm's famously beautiful paper newsletters were not sent out to our members. Instead of printing the newsletters this week, we emailed a copy to each of our members. This is still in the trial stages, so we asked our members for feedback. Suffice it to say, we are pleased with what you've told us! Keep those comments coming our way!
The original impetus for this change was to reduce the waste of resources, time, and money on the farm. We've been discussing a non-paper newsletter, and having the new system begin to go into effect on Earth Day week just seemed like a good idea. Printing those gorgeous newsletters costs us $15,000 in printer toner each year. We go through roughly 100 reams of paper, and countless labor hours in the office and on the delivery routes are spent printing, collating, and collecting unclaimed newsletters from each delivery location (our delivery drivers estimate that our members leave behind at least 200 unclaimed newsletters a week -- that's 10,000 newsletters a year (or, roughly 20 reams of paper). That just seems like a lot of waste, all around, particularly since we're striving to be as sustainable as possible.
Our newsletters are important to us for many reasons, not the least of which is simply maintaining good communication between the farm and our members. As such, we want to know exactly how this new system makes you feel. Does it make you happy? Angry? Frustrated? Sad? Why does it make you feel this way? If it makes you happy, what about it can we further improve? If you were angered by the change, what can we do to make it better for you? I already have gathered quite a few ideas from members and am inspired by your visions and hopes.
As Nigel always says, this is your farm. We want to be sure we are reaching you the ways that work best for you. We hope you can continue learning as much you can from us, even though we won't be sending you a hard copy of the newsletter. We hope that you understand exactly what's going into your box each week, from the rain damage you might find on fruit to the new variety of lettuce we're trialing for a new season. Our produce care information is extremely important for you to read, so you will be able to consume your produce in the most efficient way possible. If you do not read our newsletter and your lettuce goes bad due to improper storage or unrealistic expectations of how long it will keep, we feel that we have failed you. How can we entice you to read the information we want to give you?
We would love it if you could send us all of your thoughts, suggestions, comments, and questions. This may create a slowdown in emailing response, but we think it's well worth it (don't worry -- I'll prioritize logistical emails first, so your delivery cancellations, renewals, and new member applications will not suffer). We'd also love to hear what other newsletters or blogs you read that you feel are most successful at capturing your attention. Accessibility is key, too. I'd love to make this truly great!
We will hopefully be posting our new WordPress blog/website soon, so there will be much easier formats for our recipe and produce care files (also, past farm news postings should be easy to retrieve). I would love to make one of those "print this recipe" widgets on each recipe, too, so if you are like me and prefer to read a recipe from a sheet of paper instead of a computer screen, we can make it easy for you. If any of you know how to put that on a website, please let me know! We have a member working on the new website, and we love to use the resources we have in our community! Nigel also plans to have all of our communications be compatible with Smart Phones, so please be sure to give us feedback on that as well.
Looking forward to this new dialogue!
Take care, and happy Earth Day.