Last year I wanted to try something that I had seen on other farms, but hadn’t tried for the Blandford CSA. I wasn’t quite sure how it would go, but it has been great. Our working shares have been a great help on the farm and I’ve been very appreciative of their help and company.
For the last two seasons we’ve had between 5 and 10 people sign up to do a working share. I encourage people to work either 2 or 4 hours a week during the CSA season. I haven’t had anyone opt for more, but it is possible if someone wanted to put in longer shifts for a bigger discount. I leave the jobs that people do fairly open due to different interests or capabilities. My hope is that each person can find something that they would enjoy and feel comfortable doing while helping do an important job.
There are people who like to come out and just weed for a couple hours. I’ve offered other jobs to mix it up, but that is all they want to do and I don’t complain. Some people help with harvesting, some help with washing the produce, some help with seeding and potting up in the greenhouse, and some come and we put them to work doing whatever we happen to be doing at the time.
It is great to have consistent volunteers every week. Sometime when we get a random volunteer it takes a while to get them set up and for them to become familiar with what we have going one. When we have people who are able to come out every week and pick up right where they left off it really does make a big difference. It also helps our moral when we were working alone or when we get a new person to talk to after long days on the farm. There are times when it is nice to work alone, but it is generally good to have someone else around to be able to talk to and you feel empowered to keep going to get the jobs done. It makes the job less daunting.
I was thinking the other day about how many people it takes to make the farm work. With the addition of the working shares we are able to cut down the number of people who we need to hire. With just 5 people working around 4 hours a week that equals one part time person on the farm.
I hope that the working shares also help people feel more apart of the farm and the farm community. If you’ve never been to a farm you can learn a lot about how the food is grown here. You can also get to know the people who grow your food and how we do things.
So thank you to all you working shares that have helped out on the farm. Your help really does help out a lot. I know last year and this year the onions would not have been as weeded and big,