Community Supported Agriculture – part 3: getting going is ready for early adopters.

I’d really love to have some people dig in and tell me what they like and don’t like so we can make this better. The big thing that is missing is the different farms. The data entry is a bit of a big job, but it’ll come. I promise that I’ll go back and fix whatever goes in now when the farms are there.

I’ve had some really great feedback and some good chats about this in the last few days. CSA people from around north america have been in contact, I’ve talked to various interest groups and have developed a sketch of the website.

I’d love to have a few people go there and give me their feedback. I know it’s impossible to say “don’t worry about the colours and the way it looks” but, take it for granted that those are things that are easily changed. I’m interested in how the little bit of functionality that is there works for you.

Off Island (and on Island folks)
1. Is there too much there already?
2. Is there something that is obviously missing?
3. Does this idea make sense to you?

On Island people looking for local food
1. register. Subscribe to one or two things. (right now you can subscribe to new ‘farms’ that are added and/or new stories told.)
2. Send feedback in the contact form on the site

3. Don’t register, and leave feedback here.

On Island people with a local food story.
1. register. Try posting a local food story
2. Come back here and let me know how it went
3. leave feedback on the site using the Contact Us link

Interested Farmers
1. Email me. I’ll give you all the instructions you need to get started.

What I”m looking for in all of this
1. I want my kids to have a connection to the food they eat.
2. I want to be able to do this easier than I am now
3. I’d like to see if this kind of community can work using the method that is being used here.

Community Supported Agriculture on PEI

Had an excellent meeting with two different representatives from the province regarding the social networking plan for farmers. The upshot of it was that we’re going to give this a try. I’ll sketch out the plan as it stands right now and, after some time for feedback, will hopefully have things ready to get going mid-next week.

I don’t mean to be secretive, but I think we may be on to something here and don’t want to ruin it by talking out of turn. So far, I’m still working pro bono, and will advise folks if that stops and i have some kind of contract. Not that it should matter…

Phase 1
We’re going to be asking the people who are currently buying from farmers (or would like to start)to do two things. We’re going to ask them to

1. register over at (I’ll be posting instructions on how to do this next week… stay tuned)

and then we’re going to ask them to

2. contribute their story buying locally here on the island. (I’ll be posting instructions on how to do this next week… stay tuned)

Pictures are good, video is good, but any story that talks about who where the farmer was, what the experience was like, what it tasted like… anything. We’re trying to accomplish three things.

it’s normal, it’s easy and it’s good to buy local

I want a list of people who are interested in finding out where the good local food is WHEN it is ready. Once the system is ready you’ll be able to either get ALL messages of ‘food is ready to come be picked up, bought or picked’ or be able to subscribe to certain kinds of food or certain producers.

I also want to get a group of people together to prove to the local farmers that we are here. So far, the people I’ve talked to think this is a really exciting idea. I’d like to get those people together so that when i meet with farmers i can say “look, these people want your product, and they want to buy locally”.

Phase 2
I’m hoping to approach the fall season farmers (lets say apple or pumpkin) as a test case for trying out the system. We would have the apple farmers, for instance, posting when different apples were ready and when picking was ready to start. Nice simple test case, and hopefully will generate more good news stories as like phase 1. I’m particularly interested in trying to track connections between people being notified and actually going to the farms.

Phase 3
Education and role out. With the lessons learned from our first two phases, i’d like to develop a training system to get farmers up to speed (even though i hope to be able to provide a pretty simple system, at this point i’m willing to sacrifice some functionality for simplicity) There are a number of people making positive investment noises. There are connections to rural development, the local tech community, training and the agriculture communities…. All VERY early days at this point, but i’ve heard very few negative noises at this point.

I’d originally intended to try and torture farmers to get involved now, but it was suggested (and i should have thought of this) that it’s not really fair for them to use their VERY limited time this time of the season for this when we can’t guarantee immediate results. That doesn’t mean we don’t want you if you are a farmer. You can leave a message here or send me an email through the email button on the top right hand corner of this page if you are interested in being more involved sooner.

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