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Midwest CSA Conference

Building the CSA Movement, Moving Forward Together

December 3-4, 2015, The Plaza, Eau Claire, WI

Registration is now open!

Wisconsin Farmers Union, working in partnership with a range of Midwest organizations, will convene the Midwest CSA Conference December 3-4, 2015 in Eau Claire at the Plaza Hotel. The conference is designed to be hands-on, with a program developed by CSA farmers for CSA farmers. Please help spread the word to your CSA friends and colleagues around the region.

Presented by Wisconsin Farmers Union in partnership with:

Angelic Organics Learning Center, Badgerland Financial, Band of Farmers: The Chicagoland CSA Coalition, Biodynamic Association, Farm Commons, FairShare CSA Coalition, Iowa Farmers Union, Land Stewardship Project, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, Minnesota Farmers Union, Practical Farmers of Iowa, and UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.

The conference will feature a keynote and two general sessions and four concurrent workshop tracks, each with four workshop sessions.

In the general sessions we will come together to discuss and learn about issues and opportunities for the CSA movement. These issues include, among others:
• Moving from competition to cooperation among farms and communities
• CSA as community building versus just marketing
• Supporting new CSA farmers as well as more experienced farmers who are ready to move on from day-to-day farming.
• Exploring a unified vision for the Midwestern CSA movement

Steven McFadden will be the featured keynote elevating these issues. Steven is the author of Farms of Tomorrow and the new book, Awakening Community Intelligence: CSA Farms, as 21st Century Cornerstones.

The discussions in the keynote and general sessions will be complemented by the hands-on workshops, providing more practical information. We are still finishing the final details on the workshops. CSA farmers can expect sessions covering:

Beginning CSA Farming – sessions on the nuts and bolts of setting up your CSA farm, finding and communicating with members, setting up drop-off sites, finding supplies and production resources. Also discussions on record keeping, planning tips, and land access strategies from both beginning and experienced CSA farmers.

Building Community – sessions exploring ideas of deepening the community and support aspects of the CSA model, sharing ideas of how CSA farms can work together as well as work with the larger community. There will also be a session on best practices in member communication.

Production and Logistics – sessions on hardware and equipment hacks, as well as information from farmers on building efficiencies and food safety practices into your operation. Issues specific to labor efficiencies will also be covered in these sessions.

Financial Management and Business Planning – sessions will provide hands-on information for whole-farm financial analysis comparing cash flow and profitability measures. Sessions will also provide analysis tools to look at investments, legal aspects such as contracts and liabilities, as well as farm succession planning.

We invite CSA farmers from across the Midwest to join us in Eau Claire for this important gathering of the movement. The Early Bird rate for the conference is $135 per person, which includes all meals. Bring additional people from your farm or organization for the discounted rate of $95 a person. The Early Bird Rate, along with conference rates at the Plaza Hotel, go through November 11, 2015.

The conference begins with registration from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Thurs., Dec. 3, and the first workshop will begin at 1:30 p.m. The conference will wrap up by 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4.

 

Registration information and Sponsorship/Exhibitor details are available at www.WisconsinFarmersUnion.com or by contacting WFU Special Projects Coordinator Sarah Lloyd at 608-844-3758 or slloyd@wisconsinfarmersunion.com.

Wisconsin Farmers Union, a member-driven organization, is committed to enhancing the quality of life for family farmers, rural communities and all people through educational opportunities, cooperative endeavors and civic engagement.