So what does a vegetable CSA Farmer do during the winter? Some of us focus on other jobs, some fall into the rhythm of school with teaching or kids, attention is turned to pet projects, travel plans and the holidays. And while we wait on the seasons to change, leading us in to a new year, there is also work being done behind the scenes. Season evaluation, planning for the new year, and lots of small (and sometimes not so small) projects get done during the off-season to help the CSA run better next year.
This winter we set some goals for the CSA:
1. Firm up greenhouse arraignments with Canadian Mennonite University and Friends of Gardens Manitoba. Friends of Gardens has been instrumental in bringing bright and vigorous energy to this proposal, and it has been wonderful to work with them. Following into 2015 we hope to finalize the agreement between Canadian Mennonite University, the CMU Farm, and Friends of Gardens to move forward with the greenhouse build this season.
The greenhouse ‘committee’ of CMU, the CMU Farmers Collective, and Friends of Gardens Manitoba working out the details.
2. Enhance our business savvy and organizational structure. Certainly less flashy than a greenhouse, but no less important. As we continue to welcome more and more households into share agreements during the growing season, work with new farmers, and partner on building projects this is imperative.
3. Welcome new farmers into the fold. One of our guiding principles and reasons for being a CSA so close to a university has been the desire to be a place where people can come and learn about our work in whatever capacity. This year we are excited to welcome two new farmers into the fold and look forward to this sharing of the work and knowledge. Watch for Jonah and Maria’s bios coming soon!
Along with off-season work, we’ve also participated in some exciting events this fall already.
In November, Jeanette headed to the Food Secure Canada Assembly in Halifax as part of her farmer organizing work with Sharing the Table Manitoba. Here she was able to connect with new and young farmers from across the country as part of the New Farmer Roundtable.
Breakout sessions with the New Farmer Roundtable
Meeting keynote speaker Vandana Shiva
The Farm also played host to a Seed Saving Harvest Party. Caroline Chartrand invited special guest Winona LaDuke to join us for an evening of seed saving, story telling and volunteer appreciation.
Winona LaDuke speaking to the assemble seed savers and supporters
At the CMU Farm around the fire, Steve Heinrichs of Mennonite Church Canada addresses the group.
Finally, Megan and Jeanette attended the Small Farms Manitoba conference and CSA Manitoba meetings for a day of learning and networking.
Small Farms Manitoba conference opening address
Megan interviewing with CTV at the Small Farms Manitoba conference
But the winter is almost over and we do always look forward to the spring.