7 Mar 2011

What a Farmer Does in Winter

This is from "The Cutting Veg" which is a Brampton-farm which accepts interns, focused on organic and sustainable agriculture. I met them at the Sorauren Farmer's Markets last summer. I didn't have a chance to volunteer at their farm although i would love to! You can check out their website here: http://www.thecuttingveg.com/ written by Daniel Hoffmann

So, What does an Organic Farmer in Southern Ontario do during the Winter?: An Organic Farmer's job description can be divided into three parts: one third of her/his work is the physical farm work, one third planning, and one third marketing. Thus, winter time is a key time to do your planning and marketing work. Personally, I tend to spend November and December reflecting on the farming season that has just passed, and begin to vision for the season ahead. During the first half of January, it is time to finailise the vision. And once mid-January hits, it's time to start putting the vision into a;ction. In coming up with the vision for the farming season that lies ahead, I look at four key areas
  1. What are the goals? What are we trying to accomplish? Does the mission statement still fit?
  2. What crops will we grow, and how much of each?
  3. Who will the team be? What staff roles are needed and who will fill them? Does the Internship program need reworking? Does the volunteer program need revisiting?
  4. What is the distribution plan? Are we happy with how our current CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) are working, and do we want to add any additional locations? What is the CSA membership goal for the season? What Farmer's Markets will we do this year? How will we distribute the bulk garlic?
Once these questions have been answered, it is time to start putting the pieces in place. We're hiring staff and interns. Making crop maps, and planting schedules. Taking a seed inventory and ordering seeds and seedlings. Working with community partners to either launch new CSA's, or better existing ones. In managing The Cutting Veg, January - April is the most important time of the year for me. This is when the vision is set, and put into action. A strong winter of planning & marketing can lead to a very successful year. And once April hits, one needs to be ready for that first window of planting time. We could be planting in just over 1 month!

No comments:

Post a Comment