Become a FairShare
For 30 years, FairShare has built a base of informed and active eaters through community education on the social, environmental, and economic benefits of locally grown, organic food, and on-going support of direct market farms.
FairShare currently endorses 40 CSA farms serving Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio. Our farms provide over 13,000 shares to more than 27,000 individuals and families.
We work together to share information and resources, collaborate for group promotion and grower training, and work to strengthen our local food system through the promotion of CSA.
Each fall, FairShare accepts applications from any CSA farmer interested in being formally endorsed for the following growing season. Farmers must submit a full application and have an interview with currently endorsed farmers.
To be considered as a FairShare Endorsed farm, your farm must produce the vast majority of your products on farm, be certified organic or in transition to organic certification (for produce) and demonstrate an ability to provide a high level of customer service.
FairShare offers three ways for farms to connect with FairShare programs and services, such as farm listings, access to the FairShare Farm Network listserv, grower education, and more. Farms can apply to be:
Apply by November 1st
To learn more about what is included in the different levels:
If you are interested in becoming an ENDORSED farm with FairShare, please review the following handbook to gain an understanding of our policies, requirements, and the information we ask for in the application:
Join our FairShare Farm Network to participate in farmer-to-farmer conversations on organic production techniques, equipment, CSA in the Midwest, and more. There are over 380 farmers and agricultural professionals on the list. To join, sign up to be a Connected member HERE.
FairShare works closely with our community of growers to develop and share resources, build skills and farm efficiencies and to maintain a spirit of collaboration and camaraderie. FairShare endorses new farms each year through an application and interview process and throughout the year sponsors Farmer-to-Farmer Programs for FairShare endorsed farms and other direct market producers. Other resources provided by FairShare include the annual Organic Vegetable Production Conference, on-farm research trials, and the Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship program.
FairShare Field Days occur in the summer and fall and are opportunities to visit local farms while they are in production. Coalition growers open their farm to the public for a guided tour and discussion of diverse topics related to farm production. Field Days are free and open to the public.
Workshops are single-topic, intensive programs offering attendees several hours of hands-on experience. Attendance is typically capped at 15-25 to ensure that all attendees are able to ask questions and engage with the presenters and topic material. For topics directly related to farm production, the workshop will tend to take place on a farm. Past workshops have covered Fruit Tree Grafting, Quickbooks for CSA Growers, Crop Planning, Early Season Hoophouse Production, Mechanical Cultivation, and Building a Low-Cost Packshed & Cooler.
These semi-formal gatherings sessions are typically held as a potluck during the winter and are open to anyone who would like to attend. Farmers, consultants, faculty, and extension staff come together to share ideas, experiences, and suggestions for a particular topic, such as labor management, pest control, irrigation systems, or cover crops.
EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT TRAINING
Motivating, supporting, and managing employees is essential to most diversified vegetable farms. FairShare, in partnership with Dane County Extension, assists farmers in strengthening these skills through two labor management training programs – Becoming the Employer of Choice for vegetable farm employers and Training and Education for Aspiring Managers for vegetable farm employees. Practical tools and peer-to-peer discussion are at the center of each program.
ORGANIC VEGETABLE PRODUCTION CONFERENCE
This producer-initiated conference is designed for advanced growers and attracts participants from throughout the Midwest and beyond. Every session digs deep on one vegetable or farm management practice and is accompanied by a detailed handout including explicit information from three farmers working at different scales.
FairShare works with farmers on their farms to explore research questions they may not have time to address on their own. Since 2015 we have been exploring issues around cover crops and no-till practices suitable for organic vegetable systems.
ORGANIC VEGETABLE FARM MANAGER APPRENTICESHIP
THE FIRST STATE-ACCREDITED APPRENTICESHIP FOR ORGANIC VEGETABLE FARMING IN THE UNITED STATES
The Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Apprenticeship program provides hands-on, comprehensive training that benefits farmer educators and apprentices alike. Through this two-year, competency-based program, apprentices work with experienced farmers to develop their skills and learn the ins-and-outs of what it takes to run a successful farm business. And farmers, in addition to honing their training and mentorship skills, develop highly competent employees who they may retain on their farms over the long term.
To learn how you can be involved as a farmer educator or an apprentice, contact Sarah Janes Ugoretz, or check out our Apprenticeship Program page.