I have been trying to develop an Excel sheet for farm income options this week... it has been a challenge because I am just trying to get the data into some kind of a projection order. I haven't been able to operate a farm yet, so I need to know maximum CSA possibilities before it can even begin to make sense, but the idea of making money farming is important to me and to Working Together.
In my ongoing research about food issues, I decided that CSA's are the way for small farms to go because each farmer can work to find their own customer base. Income sources can be expanded to other products or activities, like Farmer's Markets, restaurant supply, and finished products for retail sales, but the funding that CSA's provide can be the base that keeps a farm going. Once you know the minimum and the maximum number of CSA's your farm can handle, they become your goals and your limits.
My primary focus is poverty populations. I have never been able to take advantage of CSA's because they are often way beyond my income level. I would need some kind of monthly payment plan. In my Excel effort, I have CASH and CREDIT options at FULL, HALF, and QUARTER share levels. The cash, paid in full, option receives a major discount, the credit, pay by the month , option is charged a 20% credit fee. The product shares are the same for each category, but the pricing levels are different. It works on paper as a guide, now I need the real figures to decide how to make it work in real life.
A lot depends on what is available during each month of the year... and I have the price of the share as my guide for product contents. It seems to me that vegetables and fruits are not the only food that needs to be included... eggs, cheese, meats, and other farm products can also be included in the share contents. The details are the issue for me... I need to know how many acres, what kind of land, where it is located, what to grow, how much it costs to produce and deliver. Just a little bit of details.... :-)
These are the directions I am moving in, and business plans with cash flow projections have gotten me started.
I am wondering if a co-op would work, if urban options can work, if I can find land on major bus routes to let low-income households reach me, and lots of other possibilities. I want to find a way to make it achievable... and have a lot more to learn about the process of reaching these goals.
If you have any great details to share, let me know them...