Sunday, March 30, 2008

Calling All Working Members

"Working member" is a term that has sprung up with CSAs, probably isn't even in the dictionary yet, seeing as CSAs in America are at most twenty years old, with ninety percent I bet formed in the past ten years, and probably fifty percent in the last five (I like statistical breakdowns). It means "a member who spends some time every week helping out his or her CSA farm, whether it be in the field, or just as commonly at pick-ups, and gets a discount or upgrade." Though, it should be noted, some CSAs, especially the older ones I would guess, more or less mandate helping out, and think of those who don't as having to pay more for it, rather than those working getting a discount.

Open Heart Farm had its first working members last year, 3. It went pretty well. Ours received a discount and then we tried to give them some extra greens and flowers each week. Our working members were really remarkably productive: Rachel and I hardly ever thinned carrots or weeded mesclun the whole season. The money that they received wouldn't be considered a livable wage, but I think most of them were really happy doing it. I won't guess why but to say it probably has some intersections with why I like to be down there myself. One of our working members is going on to apprentice on an organic farm in Maine (apprenticing being a more full time, full season affair) this year, so I guess that her experience with us was positive and even slightly inspiring.

Why mention all this now? Cause now is when we are signing up members (little bit more than halfway there for those wondering) and we haven't gotten any working ones yet. Thought I had one but that one going on to apprentice, as mentioned above. No guilt intended Rebecca. So I'm here making the plea to those in Burlington who think they have four hours a week and want to see things grow, thrive, have fun, learn some about organic farming, get in some exercise, etc.

This year I am making it a larger discount ($90), and offering the possibility for members to do that work on Saturdays, at our market in Shelburne.

Anyways, that is what a "working member" is. The more I think about it the more I like just the fact that are gradiations of levels of employment, a little grey area somewhere even between barter and time equaling money. If your up for it you know where to reach me (info to the right).

IN OTHER NEWS: Greenhosue and Farm report

A new flower for us this year, spurred snapdragons, are up and running, though the more regular rocket mix snapdragons are taking a little more time. beets popped right up and lots of the first brassicas, like broccoli and cauliflower, are up too. Here you can see Ciaran playing with the Calendula, which is probably the biggest thing right now since it loves the cold nights (we keep the greenhouse to cold I think (it is pretty expensive on a zero degree night)):

and here you can see that the last days of March in Burlington can in fact be pretty darn cold, yeah for the last snow of the season. They say it's going to be 63 degrees Tuesday, yeah for the flood?!?!?!?


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