Food Systems, Agriculture, Value-added, Community Supported Agriculture and more

Agricultural systems are challenged globally because of the pressures to move toward "single crop" systems being promoted by the corporate and large-scale farming models. It is apparent that these systems are failing, mainly because they lack diversity. The failures of these systems are occurring on several fronts including actual production impacts to humans and the environment, but also in the quality and nutrition of the food being produced. It is not our purpose here to go into great detail about the "problems" but to present solutions and to move into the phenomenal opportunities that have been created as we are realizing the issues of the, currently, dominant agricultural systems. These systems have fostered the use of large-scale, heavy equipment and  massive amounts of petrochemical based fuels and chemicals - and also non-localized production requiring huge costs and impacts related to shipping.

We are focusing on diversified, organic, localized production systems and empowering smaller scale farming and the creation of cooperative systems to support all levels of the food system within a smaller local/regional scale.

Our approach is not to "reinvent the wheel" but to find "success-stories" (case studies) and then help others to replicate and adopt these successful models to their communities and places.

In order to understand how to implement these "new" models (actually they  are more like what farming used to be like) it is important to gain an understanding of the current context - what systems dominate the current marketplace. THESE SYSTEMS ARE NOT WORKING and must be replaced by a more wholistic, sustainable system, but are not addressed at the large scale, per se, but best addressed by concerted and patient localized efforts.

A good place to gain insights to both the "issues" and the "opportunities" that are in our future is captured in the documentary film "Fresh" - we feel this movie provides a very balanced, realistic presentation, but also provides inspiration for successful "re-making" of our food systems.

Another movie is Food Inc. (a bit more critical perspective but not incorrect).

It is important to note though, that it is important to not get overwhelmed or feel fear related to addressing these issues of our food. Staying positive and empowered is the key to getting things done. Even though this is an entire topic of its own and is addressed in topics related to "individual and community empowerment" - we must be constantly reminded to feel good about our ability to succeed!

Success Stories - (case studies) models that you can replicate

Polyface Farms, Inc., Joel Salitin (the farm with many faces) - "is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.""

Good Natured Family Farms - We are an alliance of more than 100 family farms some are 3rd or 4th generation who raise our animals humanely and care for the earth in a sustainable fashion. We have banded together to be able to bring our foods to Hen House Markets and Balls Price Choppers Supermarkets.


Union Cab, Madison, WI - a workers cooperative.

Workers Cooperatives -  Grass-roots Economic Organizing

Bank of North Dakota

National Family Farm Coalition

Communities standing up to corporate interests

Community Rights US    Video

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), etc.

Defining Community Supported Agriculture
An EXCERPT from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): An Annotated Bibliography and Resource Guide. CSA_Definition

2.0 Small Farm Business Planning - This unit provides practical advice on
how to approach business planning in the start-up phase of a small farm.

4.0 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) - This unit on direct marketing through Community Supported Agriculture introduces students to multiple aspects of the CSA model. Each unit contains appendices that include student exercises and/or information that the instructor can use as visual examples and student handouts.

Bringing Home the Harvest is a quarterly publication of the Inland Northwest Community Food Systems (INW CFS) Task Force. Bringing Home the Harvest shares the knowledge and experience of people working in community food systems and the opportunities and challenges facing small acreage farmers and market gardeners in the Inland Northwest. BHHSP98

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Building Community Among Farmers and Non-Farmers. Abstract: Conflict at the rural-urban interface may often be due to a lack of social connections or communication between farmers and non-farmers. Extension educators may be at a loss
as to how to bring these two groups together. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA),  or a variation of CSA, may be one avenue for developing connections. Findings from a  qualitative study of a Midwestern CSA reveal a number of ways CSA met the goals of  participants while also building community among farmers and non-farmers. Extension personnel might promote CSA at the rural-urban interface to build community and  support  for local agriculture.
Community Supported Agriculture

Creating A Market - from Mother Earth News
. Get started in community supported agriculture.
Creating A MarketCSAMotherEarth

This publication reports on the history of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the U.S. and discusses the various models that have emerged. Recent trends in the CSA movement are presented and demographic information provided about the distribution of CSA farms in the U.S. Several CSA cases are profiled and a survey of recent research is presented. References and resources follow the narrative.

University of Kentucky - Community Supported Agriculture
(CSA) is a term that has come to describe a variety of direct farm marketing practices with certain common characteristics, including:
• Emphasis on community and/or local produce
• Shares/subscriptions that are sold prior to the season’s beginning
• Weekly deliveries to members/subscribers

Educational and Training Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center AFSIC focuses on alternative farming systems that strive to maintain agricultural productivity and profitability, while protecting natural resources. Such systems include sustainable, low-input, regenerative, biodynamic, and organic farming and gardening.

Eight Tips from the Experts to Make Your Community Shared Agriculture Project a Success

Direct Marketing Options: Farmers Markets, Restaurants, Community Supported Agriculture and the Organic Alternative

UofNebraska - Community Supported Agriculture

Research Paper - Urban organic farming in Austria with the concept of Selbsternte (`self-harvest'): An agronomic and socio-economic analysis

Groups, Communities, Businesses and Organizations

Tourism - Work Books, Short Courses

A New Pair of Glasses - is a short course that was designed for economic development directors, Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitor Bureau personnel. However the course is useful for anyone who might be interested in creative, innovative tourism development.

Developing Tourism in Your Community - this is a comprehensive guide to understanding community tourism and includes specific action items for development and planning. Developed by the Texas Cooperative Extension and Texas Dept. of Commerce, this information although a little older is very good and applies in any context, although the focus for this publication was Texas.

Tourism Enterprise Opportunities - is an online presentation of the publication Nature Tourism: A Guidebook for Evaluating Enterprise Opportunities

Tourism Product Development - one of the keys to successful experiential, nature or heritage based tourism is quality product development. Dr. Jim Kimmel provides the most concise, and thorough discussions on the topic of "Interpretation", or "telling the story of your place."

Regional Development Approach focuses on a three pronged approach for tourism, entrepreneurship and innovation in agriculture utilizing technologies and education as platforms for success.

Empowerment Concepts for Rural Revitalization - excerpts derived from Dr. Skadberg´s publication, VISION - We Are Re-Creating the World, this is a brief introduction to some of the more important foundational principles and ideas - this is just an introduction.

Business and Entrepreneurship

Marketplace for Kids - This is one of the most comprehensive set of course materials that we have found for teaching young people, and we think adults, some principles and skills for successful, creative small business development.


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