Sometimes I feel like the bearer of bad news, but I feel it is important to be open with our members. It goes without saying that these past 4 1/2 years have been incredibly hard on us with Nigel's illness, many ups and downs. That has taken a toll on the farm, mostly it is hard on our crew. For several months now, Nigel has not been able to go out onto the farm at all. But the other reality is, over the past several years, the number of CSA boxes has steadily gone down. When Nigel and I were first together, our CSA share numbers were in the 900's every week, we are now down to 450. Summer is the worst time of year, because that is when people go on vacation and so many shares are put on hold. The start of school is literally at our door and this is the perfect time to ramp things up and get our numbers up again.
Truthfully, we can not be a successful farm without bringing our numbers up at least by 100 every week. My goal is to get us back to 700. Most of our members only get a box every other week, so even though we still have over 900 CSA members, that quite often leaves us at 450 boxes per week.
We seriously need your help. Imagine if each of our 900 members got just one person to sign up for a share! If they got a box every other week, that would increase our numbers by 450 shares per week. So truthfully, we only need half of you to do that to reach my goal, but please don't think you should be the half that doesn't find someone. Connie and I are working on coming up with some strategies to get the word out and find new ways to grow the CSA. Connie has been doing some outreach and going to various events around the greater Bay Area. Keep us in mind for speaking to groups or organizations you might be involved with. If you want postcards to share with co-workers or parents at your kids' school, please request them or order them to be delivered with your box. They are available as Add-On Items under Donations & Promos in CSAware. If you have any ideas for other ways we can reach out to the community, let us know, we are open to all suggestions! Pass along this referral code 16E@TWELL to anyone interested in signing up for their first subscription to receive 4 CSA Box deliveries for $99. Have them include your name when they make their purchase and you will receive a referral gift.
One area I really want to explore is how to get good food to people who really can't afford it or live in areas where they do not have easy access to good food. We are working on getting set up with CalFresh, the state program that provides funds to purchase food. In the meantime, one option to consider is sponsoring a family with a 4 box subscription. We opened a new drop site in the Bayview where Bay Leaf Kitchen and Laughing Monk Brewing has their offices. A very high percentage of the culinary campers from Bay Leaf were here on a scholarship. Those kids love to cook, love the farm and love the food they experienced here. Wouldn't it be fabulous to offer them a heavily discounted CSA membership, or even one that is completely covered by a sponsor? We will have a place on CSAware where you can donate if you would like to do that. There will be an option to purchase 4 CSA Box deliveries for $99 or donate a specified amount that can be used towards a subscription. If any of you have other ideas, please don't hesitate to share it with me. You can always reach me at email@example.com or call (texting is actually better) 530-554-3971.
I really want to keep all of you in the loop on the progress we make with increasing our CSA numbers each week, so I will ask Connie to include the weekly number on the newsletter. After all, this is Your CSA and it is Your Farm and for many of you, it is a big part of Your Life. I know this is important to you as well. If we work together, I have no doubt we can reach my goal of 700 shares a week, so let's make this happen!