Starting in 2015 the Saugeen River CSA is experimenting with an innovative economic model around capital. The very first CSA in North America, Temple Wilton Community Farm in New Hampshire, developed a pledging system where there was not a fixed price for a share, but a suggested average that members then pledged around based on their self assessed finances. We are doing something similar, however, not with the entire share price, but with the capital portion of the farm’s budget. We are defining a capital expense as simply a large occasional expense that reflects the flavour or culture in which the farm works in the world. For instance, in 2007, a root cellar was built, allowing the farm to provide Winter Shares; or in 2010, when it was decided to convert the farm to as much draft horse power as possible, horses and equipment needed to be purchased. Sometimes it is also replacing equipment that maintains the way things have been done, as in 2015 needing to purchase a replacement hauling and delivery vehicle. The capital needs of the farm can be met with around $7,500. Currently, the CSA provides for around 75 households. Therefore each share would need to pledge an average of $100. So here is how the share prices look:
Main season share (end of June to mid November):
Small weekly: $400 + capital pledge Small bi-weekly: $210 + capital pledge
Medium weekly: $615 + capital pledge Medium bi-weekly: $330 + capital pledge
Large weekly: $880 + capital pledge Large bi-weekly: $460 + capital pledge
Wnter share (December to end of March):
Small: $250 + capital pledge
Large: $400 + capital pledge
The capital pledge average is $100. Members need to asses their own finances and decide what amount they can afford, based on the $100 average. If members have any questions about this process, please contact Cory.
Here is also a three year projection of the capital needs of the farm:
2015: $6,600 for a truck; $900 for larger horse disc = $7,500
2016: $4,000 major tractor repair; $3,500 new younger team of horses = $7,500
2017: $7,500 equipment storage shed
The CSA core group will meet each winter to reasses the upcoming year’s capital needs.
At the foundation of the CSA model is creating a real economic link between producers and consumers, that is as cooperative as possible. This means finding the true costs of growing food and being as transparent and sustainable as possible. The farm’s cashflow statements can be found on the “Newsletters” page of this website. To read more about capital and the farm, see the September 2012 newsletter, and the “Threefolding” page.