There’s never been a better time to start market gardening! Demand for fresh organic produce is soaring, driven by food ‘scares’ and movements like Slow Food and the 100 Mile Diet. When you add in the impact of modern tools and technology, and the use of the Internet as an information resource, it’s clear this is a great time to be a market gardener!
However, as with any opportunity, there are some approaches that work better than others. I will let you in on a little ‘secret’ about an incredibly powerful method to start-up a market garden – Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
What is Community Supported Agriculture? The government farming organization ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas) – has this definition of a CSA on their website:
“In basic terms, CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.
It might be easier to say, ‘customers subscribe to the farm, paying in advance to receive a share of vegetables each week throughout the growing season’.
Why is this a powerful model? Here’s a few key points:
This is an incredible approach to launching a market gardening business. The advance cash you receive from customers could allow you you ‘bootstrap’ your business, with no money out of your pocket (except for the costs of finding those customers in the first place.)
How do you start a CSA? There are a few steps you should follow before you throw some seed in the ground.
If this is your first attempt at market gardening, its a good idea to ‘start small’. Perhaps just approach a few friends and neighbours, and ask them if they would like to receive a basket of farm-fresh veggies from you every week. Then follow the steps above to start up your own bootstrap market garden!