This section contains a collection of print and internet resources selected to give new farmers an introduction to the information they will need to start a CSA farm.
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This list is updated every couple of weeks by those with land and those seeking it.
Gene Farley Center for Peace & Sustainability
A new land-link program focused on land in south central Wisconsin. Contact the organization directly for information on upcoming farmowner-farmer meetings.
Midwest Farm Connection
Sponsored by The Land Connection in Illinois, MFC posts land links for all of the Midwest, but primarily in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Land Stewardship Project
Regularly updated list of farmland available in the Upper Midwest, primarily Minnesota.
The Practical Farmers of Iowa (a great resource all-around) has launched a new land-link program to connect farmowners with those seeking land. Currently it is focused on Iowa, but seems poised to quickly expand to nearby states.
Sample Land Lease Forms
This project of the Leopold Center and Drake University has compiled a list of several different forms of agricultural lease templates, including crop sharing, 99-year conservation leases, and more.
UW Extension has also published an Agricultural Lease Law Primer which lists state legal requirements for agricultural leases.
Finding Land to Farm
This publication highlights common ways to lease or own land.
How CSAs Can Acquire, Hold and Pass on Land
Discussion of land tenure and financing for Community Supported Agriculture.
Prairie Crossing Farm Business Development Center
The FBDC is located on a one hundred acre organic farm in Grayslake, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, and has its foundation in the Prairie Crossing Conservation Community.
Linda & Gene Farley Center for Peace & Sustainability
The Farley Center is located in Verona, WI, just to the SW of Madison. Their organization focuses on providing opportunities for socially disadvantaged and immigrant farmers.
The Intervale Center is one of the longest-running incubator farm programs in the country, and has served as a model for many more recently developed programs.
The Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) provides educational and business opportunities for farm workers and aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops grown on two organic farms in Monterey County, California.
FairShare Calendar of Events
FairShare holds field days, Grower Gatherings, and workshops! Check out the events calendar. You can also receive info about events by requesting to join the farmer listserv by sending an email email@example.com.
Stateline Farm Beginnings Program
Ten business planning sessions that focus on goal-setting and planning for profit, field day opportunities throughout the growing season, and a mentorship. Hosted by CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training).
Central Illinois Farm Beginnings
A full-year program for anyone wanting to engage in sustainable, entrepreneurial farming.
Lake Superior Farm Beginnings
LSFB provides 39 hours of training and hands-on learning opportunities in the form of classroom sessions, farm tours and skill sessions. It is a year-long training and support effort.
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
A public nonprofit education and research organization committed to promoting resource-conserving, ecologically sustainable and economically viable food and farming systems. Offers Whole Farm Workshops throughout the season, including a CSA Planning Course in the winter.
University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS)
A multidisciplinary center providing research and communications on sustainable agriculture.
FairShare farmers write fact sheets for other farmers about a variety of topics, including issues important to new farmers. The PDFs of the fact sheets are available on the FairShare website here.
National Young Farmers Coalition
Vibrant, engaging website all about beginning farmers.
Online resources for farmers, researchers, and policy makers.
The owners of Roxbury Farm have generously offered all sorts of planning material on their website, including their own seeding and planting schedules, greenhouse setup, guides on purchasing equipment, managing soil fertility, and more.
How to Go Organic
This website from the Organic Trade Association lists straightforward steps you need to take to get certified and provides a comprehensive resource directory by region and state.
Community Supported Agriculture Manual for Michigan - Website is currently under construction.
A 49-page manual for running a CSA farm, with very good questions that all new growers should be asking themselves as they plan their farm operation.
USDA National Agricultural Library on Alternative Farming Systems: Community Supported Agriculture
Resources and information on CSA farms.
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)
MOSES serves farmers striving to produce high-quality, healthful food using organic and sustainable techniques. These farmers produce more than just food; they support thriving ecosystems and vibrant rural communities.
Since 1988, the SARE grants and education program has advanced agricultural innovation that promotes profitability, stewardship of the land, air and water, and quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their communities. The website is full of videos and fact sheets.
Organic Farming Research Foundation
OFRF conducts original research about organic farming in the U.S. Since 1992, OFRF has conducted four National Organic Farmers’ Surveys, collecting information about organic farmers’ research and information needs, their experiences in the organic marketplace, effects of GMOs on organic production and markets, organic farmer demographics and much more.
- Sharing The Harvest. Elizabeth Henderson. Chelsea Green 2007. An up to date overview of all aspects of running a CSA farm.
- The New Organic Grower. Eliot Coleman. Chelsea Green 1995. Comprehensive resource for growing organic vegetables. A must have how to manual.
- Four Season Harvest. Eliot coleman. Chelsea Green 1999. Growing vegetables year round in unheated hoophouses.
- The Winter Harvest Handbook. Eliot Coleman. Chelsea Green. 2009. An updated version of growing vegetables year round.
- The Organic Farmers Business Handbook. Richard Wiswall. Chelsea Green. 2009. A comprehensive look at the business of running a successful vegetable farm.
- Growing for Market. Monthly newsletter for local food producers. This periodical is highly informative and full of detailed information on current topics. Written by farmers.