Thursday, January 27, 2011

Member-Supported Community Shares Available

I'm bowled over by the generosity of my returning CSA members!! So far, $650 $900! has been donated to create a pool to fund sliding-scale subsidized shares for the coming season.

If you know of anyone (ideally in the Mount Hope/Mary Allen neighbourhood) who might be interested in a flexibly-priced share, please ask them to be in touch. I'm really excited to be able to offer a portion of the shares at a more accessible price point this season.

Thanks so much to all who have contributed so far!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Some upcoming workshops

There are some GREAT workshops coming up in the KW area, for those interested in food & farming-related issues. Thought I'd post a few here:

Little City Farm ALWAYS has fabulous workshops on their roster!
A few coming up include:
Intro to Soap Making, Sat Jan 22
Intro to Cheese Making, Sat Feb 19
4 Season Harvest: Extending the Growing Season, Sat Mar 5
Starting Seedlings at Home, Sat Mar 19 (with me!)

Farming for Foodies: The realities of farming sustainably in Ontario
Sat, Feb 5, Fiddleheads
Ever wanted to know just a little bit more about farming and the way your food is grown? Farming for Foodies is a venue for food lovers and the farm curious. Facilitated by my much-respected farmer friend Tarrah Young of Green Being Farm, this workshop is designed to give you the nitty gritty on how your food is grown. Learn more about the basics of organic agriculture, how to apply these fundamentals to your own backyard garden, how to find 'real' organic food, and get your questions answered about the barriers preventing farmers from getting good food into your hands.  Cost: $75. More details at To register, contact Margo McIntosh, or (519) 894-0002.

 Finally, the Waterloo Region Food Systems Roundtable posts events here. Lots of workshops, conferences & other events coming up, including a few in particular that caught my interest:

Deconstructing Dinner for Resilient Food Secure Communities 
Tuesday, January 25, 6:30-8:30pm,  KPL Forest Heights Branch
Where Does Your Meat Come From?
Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 6:30-8:30pm, KPL Forest Heights Branch
FOOD JUSTICE: Our food, Our bodies 
March 18-20, 2011, Waterloo (conference coordinated by WPIRG)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Geeking Out

I've been playing with a lot of numbers recently. I do love winter for all the time it allows me to spend cozied up with a mug of hot coffee and pages & pages of Excel data... (I'm serious)

The most fascinating has been the crop profitability data I've been crunching. I've been trying to figure out which crops are most profitable to grow based on the amount of space they take up in the garden. If I set the target of grossing $25,000/acre, then crops need to average $3.44/bed foot. $30,000/acre requires $4.13/bed foot. The calculations are based on yield/bed foot * price/unit of yield. Here's a few outstanding examples at both extremes:

Swiss Chard: $8.13
Cucumber: $1.54
Arugula: $10.97 (!!!)
Broccoli: $1.88
Eggplant: $10.61
Spinach: $2.27

This is based on just 1 year's worth of data, so the numbers will become more meaningful over time. And, more importantly, none of this takes into consideration the amount of work different crops are to grow and harvest (this is really quite variable), nor the expense of inputs required (row cover, extra compost etc), but I have a pretty good sense of how that layers in without trying to put hard numbers on it.

What does all this mean? Well... not much for my CSA members, who will continue to get essentially the same array of vegetables as they have in the past. It may, however, affect how hard I work to market particular crops, push me to figure out how to improve the yields of some lower profitability crops, make me increase some individual crop prices, or change the balance of what I bring to market on Saturdays.

Next up....seed orders!!