Author Topic: CSA News.  (Read 12052 times)


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CSA News.
« on: October 04, 2005, 10:58:57 AM »
Minutes from Meeting at Tara’s house, September 30th, 2005

Notes from the meeting.  Let’s find a place for distribution!   Not to sound like a pessimist, but Finding a distribution spot is usually one of the hardest things about starting a CSA.  
Needs: nearness to Public Transportation, ease of unloading, parking for Bill’s truck, visibility, ease of clean-up, hosted somewhere with the same sort of goals, storage, evening hours and perhaps use at other times, indoor vs. outdoor… these are all important to think about in looking for a new place.  Also, we’ll have to run it past Bill in the end.
4 Churches: Greek Church @ 30th Drive and 31st St., Korean Church, Spanish Episcopal, Methodist.—some of these may have an infrastructure for accepting left over food.  Appeal to them on that note, too.  Also, we have a CSA distribution out of a church and that pastor would be willing to talk to another… (church of the Heavenly Rest)
Schools: Elementary off of 30th – Thoreau- LIC high school.  Ask 2 members who have connections there.  Perhaps we can offer a free share to the principal (or the pastor in the case of a church).  Ask at any or all schools that are located near transportation?
Community Centers
Catholic Charities might be a good idea, but also they seem to be closing quickly.
The YMCA at 30th Drive and 21st st. is not the most convenient, but it would not be bad to think of this option.
 Also, feel free to think about private organizations. Social clubs, Rotary Clubs,  fitness centers.
We can look at getting some small grants for things like tables, chairs, tents.  There will be a fundraising workshop at Just Food on the 17th of October (Monday).  Cara will not be able to attend, but hopes some members will be able to go.
Post the need on LICNYC, Astorians (!) and My Astoria about the need for a new place
We discussed dividing these by subway stations… meaning that people who lived around one station would approach business, organizations and clubs that might fit the profile of what we want from a distribution site.  

Bank Accounts- We also briefly discussed bank accounts and EIN numbers.  It would be ideal to have our own bank account.  Paula informed us that in order to get the bank account, we’d need and EIN and by-laws and probably to talk to Washington Mutual.  Paula says that… 1) Just Food is working on getting a relationship with someone higher on the chain of command than a bank manager to understand the CSA program and give it a stamp of approval 2) Just Food has a set of generic by-laws that we’d be able to plug our names into.  (As of the following Monday, we have an EIN #)

We also need to think about “Goals”.  People should think about what they think is important about the CSA and how we could work to highlight those issues, which could easily be worked into a mission statement.  For example, Tara thinks it is important that the CSA is still accessible to low income families.  Someone else might see the environmental side as very important.  (We can also fundraise to make lower-income shares or educational pieces a bit easier.)


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CSA News.
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2005, 11:06:58 AM »

Core group coordinator (Time commitment will vary depending on organizational structure… perhaps we’ll be able to have co-coordinators.)
1.   Oversees entire CSA operation
2.   Convenes and facilitates meetings and provides leadership for the core group.
3.   Speaks with farmers and all other core group members on a regular basis to ensure that broad goals of farm and community are being met.
4.   Uses these conversations to create agenda for meetings
5.   Keeps notes on what is discussed at meetings

Newsletter Editor
(about 1- 2 hours a week) (MegC already does this, so you missed the boat!)
1.   Collaborates with CSA coordinator and core group, farm, Just Food and other members to get newsletter material.
2.   Format and edit newsletter at least 2 times a month, ideally every week.
3.   Help to create innovative ways to get other members involved in the newsletter
4.   Collects recipes that are easy and highlight vegetables of the week.

Volunteer Coordinator
1.   Works with coordinator and members to ensure that members contribute at least 4-6 hours of volunteer time throughout the CSA season.  
2.   Sets up weekly schedule for member to work/volunteer at the distribution site
3.   Calls volunteers each week to confirm shifts.    

Events Coordinator (maybe about 12 hrs. per season, but can be divided into a few jobs… one person who would do the farm visit, one who would plan the potlucks.  This could make the job less of a “core group” position and more of an extra active volunteer.)
1.   Collaborates with the core group, other members, CSA coordinator, Just Food and farm to plan fun, informative and relationship buildings events for members.
2.   At least one farm visit per season, potlucks, food/cooking demonstrations, kids programs                            

Site coordinator.
 (During distribution every week.) (Our CSA requires that members volunteer throughout the season to assist the site coordinator.  It is possible for member volunteers to run distribution without the oversight of a coordinator who is there every week.  For this scheme to be successful, in-depth instructions must be available to the volunteers when they arrive for their shifts.  See an example of these instructions in CSA Toolkit Sample Materials.  Queens CSA has a separate distribution manager and Human resource manager, the first overseeing the distribution and the other the volunteers.  This would be easier, but only if two people wanted the jobs.)
1.   Oversees distribution of vegetables every week, including meeting the farmer, working with the owners/managers of the distribution site and cleaning up the site.
2.   Oversees the weekly volunteers.
3.   Recruits for core group.
4.   Talks to members at the site to hear their concerns
5.   Serves as the site contact for the owners of the distribution site.

Treasurer & Records Keeper (3-4 hours a month during enrollment period, less at other times)
1.   Collects and keeps track of checks and membership information; pays the farmer.
2.   Computer and database skills needed (Quicken/Quickbooks/Excel); must be very organized.
3.   Keeps electronic copies of newsletters, sharelogs and photos of the share.
4.   Researches purchases
5.   Performs surveys and complies results.

Media Coordinator (This could be one job when combined with the Outreach Coordinator.  For the next year, two separate jobs might be best as there will be a fair amount of outreach to be done.)
1.   Recruits members via media and online resources.
2.   Contacts and deals with media- calls from newspapers
3.   Responds promptly to email inquiries
4.   Sends electronic mailings
5.   Maintains webpage, ideally keeping newsletters, pictures of the shares and news and events up to date each week

Outreach Coordinator

1.   Recruits members via telephone and written materials, including flyering, tabling at events, speaking at meetings.  
2.   Answers phone queries
3.   Sends mailings and written press releases
4.   Distributes specific outreach volunteering possibilities to other members

Offline cabanird

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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2005, 08:09:02 AM »
i'm sorry that i have been unable to make it to these meetings. i'm quite interested in having a share of this CSA in the coming season.

i have a minor suggestion/comment.

i work fulltime. it does not allow me to leave the job in the middle of the day, especially since i work i manhattan and would have to come back to astoria.

would the CSA be able to function on  a Saturday/Sunday?
i feel like i would definitely be able to pick up my share, or other people's shares more often if it was put on that day. also, i would be able to volunteer more frequently if it were on those days.

if it were put on either of those days, i would not have a problem with the original location. :)
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2005, 09:50:28 AM »
Your suggestion is not a minor one, but a common issue most of us have.

I believe the day of the distribution has more to do with when the farmer is available.  He drops off to a couple other CSA's in the area and I don't think he would want to make more than one trip in the week (can you imagine the cost of gas from the South Fork to here and back twice in a week?)

The time of the distribution has to do with our location and how long they (the managers of that location) allow us to say there.  Because our CSA uses tables from the senior center and they don't stay open late a night, we can only be there so long.

Perhaps when looking for a new distribution site one of our conditions could be to have a later pick up time.  But we would have to find a site (church, club, etc) that wouldn't mind us distributing until whenever?  Also, who would be willing (among us) to run the site until dark?  

This is one a several really important issues we all need to talk about and it is important to have concerned interested members show up to meetings.  Typing on a website is one thing, but showing an active participation in the CSA is another.  Out of 9 RSVP's to the last meeting only one showed...and I don't want to make a decision about the group that other people don't support, just because they are not there to voice their opinions.  Nor do I think that anyone should speak on behalf a group of people.  This defeats a big purpose of the CSA-community involvement.

I've opened up my house to Cara and the CSA for another get-together (pot luck dinner this time) and a couple of dates will be thrown out, in the near future, to the members to decide when they would like to have it.  Please also consider a time of the night as well as date, so we may maximize the number of availble members.  Also if location is a concern, if there is anyone who can host a party or a meeting in an area that's more accessible to people that would be great too.



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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2005, 11:25:14 AM »
very well put, AstoriaK.  

Tuesday is the day that Bill, our farmer, comes to the city.  Out of the almost 40 CSA sites in the city, I only know of two that distribute on Saturdays (Williamsburg and Red Hook).  They both have distributions during Farmer's Markets... some of the people like it, but I have heard lots of complaints, too.  If you tend to go away on weekends or find that you have busy weekends, Saturday is just as difficult.  I'd be interested in hearing from the current members how they feel about the day... that's covered in a survey we're doing currently and I'll get back to everyone about the results.

The bigger issue, as AstoriaK mentioned, is having a later distribution on Tuesdays.  That seems like the best way to make distribution more convenient while keeping our farmer (and he's great, but isn't interested in changing days).   Right now we close around 7 but wanted to stay open until 7:30... I know this is tough for one of our members, but I haven't really heard complaints from anyone else.   7:30 made sense to me because if you get out of work at 6:45, you can back at Ravenswood by  7:30.  Certainly, a distribution site closer to the subway would make this a bit easier.

Any suggestions about a distribution site?

Offline jayme

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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2005, 11:35:23 AM »
Suggestion --

I was sad not to be able to attend the CSA meeting -- but the day/time conflicted with other plans.

Maybe we could have a CSA meeting onsight?  Since we're all at the site for pickup on Tuesdays anyway, why not try holding a meeting say from 5-6?  I know it would be easier for me to work a meeting into a time I've already committed to picking up.  

I'd also be happy to ask Matt/Meesh to let us have a meeting at the Freeze -- which is accessible via subway.

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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2005, 11:44:32 AM »
Good suggestion, Jayme!  Tara also suggested this... I think it would be great for turn-out.

I hear that onsite meetings also work well for other sites.  Let's try that.  We could also have food at the distribution site, too, which helps people linger.   :)   (Food helps me linger all the time.)  Bringing a dish will work for some people but maybe not for people coming straight from work, so we don't have to call it a potluck.


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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2005, 12:19:13 PM »
I'm just posting like crazy today.  

One of the things that came up the other day was...

if we change the distribution site, we won't be Ravenswood CSA... then what should we call ourselves?  Someone out there probably has a knack for witty names.

Offline merm

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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2005, 07:38:34 PM »
I know!! How about Ditmars CSA :)

I'd suggest a later opening time, but we probably don't have an option as to when Bill shows up huh?

Like 5-8 would be perfect I'd think. Then we could each work our volunteer shift and the hours aren't too long.


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Hmmmm.... Ditmars CSA.....
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2005, 07:49:41 PM »
Hey, that sounds perfect!



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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2005, 08:19:56 PM »
That is an option.

I always like to be able to say YES!

Bill will have to drop off around 1:30 as he does now.  We can talk to him about that, but I think because of traffic that's just when he does it.  However, that brings up one of the things to look for in a distribution spot.  If there is a location with a closed room and someone (just a normal person who works in the school/community center/church) who monitors the place in general, there isn't any reason that opening at 5 would seem bad.  That would cut down on the job of the site coordinator, but everyone would still have to volunteer.  Also, I think that a shorter distribution time might allow you a better chance to meet the people in your CSA group (although our site is usually pretty friendly and people have been getting to know one another).


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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2005, 08:53:47 AM »
Quote from: merm
I know!! How about Ditmars CSA :)

Remember about half of our CSA members do not live in the Ditmars area and we don't know where the new site will be.  Can anyone think of a name that represents the diversity of the entire group?  The Greater Astoria CSA?  North-West Queens CSA?   According to their website, the CSA at the Arrow Community Center call themselves the Queens CSA.  I personally like the first name because we are all residents of the "Greater Astoria" area.

More importantly,  we have 2 orders of business to take care of first....people to fill core group positions and site location.  With those taken care of everything after that will be as smooth as babyfood.  

So...which night is better for people to get together Friday or Sunday night?  And at what time?

Offline megc

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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2005, 09:06:39 AM »
What about Astoria CSA?

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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2005, 09:16:19 AM »
I'm confused.  I'm also on cold meds so the 2 might be related... but --

When are we thinking of meeting again?

And what are the proposed times?

Is at the CSA site a possibility?

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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2005, 09:20:42 AM »
merm wrote:
I know!! How about Ditmars CSA

@AstoriaK: Oh, I didn't realize we were discussing the name... I thought we were discussing the distribution point... my bad.


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