Planning Your Farm Trip
A well planned farm trip is one of the best ways for your CSA members to learn about their farm and farmer. Though fun for the entire family, it does require a healthy amount of organization and foresight. Thinking through the entire trip beforehand lets you enjoy the sights and smells of the farm, so you don’t have to worry while you are there!
- Talk with your farmer early in the season and find a date that works for everyone. Once you’ve decided on a date, choose a rain date!!
- The farm trip is a huge selling point for prospective CSA members. If you can pick a date before the season starts add it to your outreach materials.
- Many farmers have more than one CSA site. Find out which other sites your farmer works with, and think about combining your efforts.
- Work with CSA members and your farmer to make a farm trip itinerary.
- Transportation to and from your CSA’s farm is the most important element of planning your farm trip. Be sure to start your research early.
- Explore all options: if enough CSA members own their own cars you may be able to carpool and transport yourselves. If this isn’t an option, have a realistic estimate of how many people (from your CSA and any others) are interested in going to your farm, and dedicate a substantial amount of time for acquiring quotes from various transportation companies. Remember to push your non-profit status!
- Contact your Local Development Corporation. They may be able to locate a local company willing to do the job.
- Write donation request letters to local bus companies.
- Remember…school buses are cheaper than charter buses! No need to be fancy.
Advertising/ Signing Up Members:
- Promote the farm trip early and often!!
- Set up a registration fee or partial deposit to ensure member commitment. This will also give you a good estimate to work with when quoting transportation options.
- Include sign up reminders at weekly distribution, in newsletter, through email, and any other community events.
- As the farm trip nears, give plenty of reminders about where and when to meet, how long the trip will be, meal info, what to wear etc.
- If your CSA is associated with an organization, approach them well in advance to confirm their level of support.
- Have core group members write donation letters for transportation, as well as food and any other supplies.
- Check out grant opportunities (see Fundraising Chapter of the Toolkit), as well as planning additional activities to raise money for the trip.
- Think bake sale.
Making the Trip Fun and Educational:
- Have members fill out index cards ahead of time with questions for the farmer. Have the farmer answer some of the questions during lunch or a hayride.
- At the end of the trip have a trivia contest for kids (or adults!) with questions from the farm.
- Talk to your farmer about the option of members working on the farm then be sure to tell members of this option so they can plan for this if they are interested. Remember there may be areas of the farm that are off limits. Find this out from your farmer and be sure to communicate this to other members.
- If you have a bus with a DVD player rent a farm relate video for people to watch.
- Be creative.
Plan a Rain Date!!
This cannot be stressed enough. Make sure CSA members, your farmer, and your mode of transportation are in agreement. Muddy farms are fun, but not for the whole family!
Because not all members will be able to go on your trip to the farm, consider asking on of the members who do go to write a follow-up article for your newsletter or website. This will help members who were not there to share in the experience and will encourage attendance in future years.