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2023: a year in review

As we all start to cozy up for the holiday season and pick up our first winter share CSA boxes, I wanted to take some time to reflect on all that’s happened at FairShare in 2023!

I joined the organization in April of this year and hit the ground running, learning about all the awesome work FairShare is doing day-to-day to support small-scale organic diversified vegetable farmers across the Midwest.

One of the highlights of this year was continuing to provide a high level of cost assistance to our Partner Shares program participants. With food insecurity climbing 44% in the last two years, ensuring access to fresh, nutrient-dense food is more important than ever.

While we raised record funds to support Partner Shares during Bike the Barns - thanks to our awesome fundraiser riders and donors! - we continue to have a waiting list for people requesting assistance. In 2023, we were able to assist over 200 households in purchasing fresh veggies from a farmer in their community!

We also provided our network of farmers with a ton of direct support throughout the year. Our work with HMoob farmers to increase market access continued to evolve, and we hosted several farmer education field days in Wisconsin and Ohio. The apprenticeship and labor management training programs provided farmers with important leadership development and labor support.

And with our involvement in coordinating the Midwest Vegetable Growers Network - providing production, labor and sales support to farmers, along with peer-to-peer connection - and the CSA Innovation Network - a coalition of CSA organizations that form a national advocacy group for CSA - we collaborated with other partners to directly support farmers spanning the Midwest and across the country. We've been busy!

As we head into 2024, we are excited to continue working on some big initiatives at FairShare. Our staff and board will collaborate on revisiting our mission and vision and building out a new strategic plan to reflect all the amazing work we do. We are writing several new grant proposals and investing in our development program to support our work. And we’re working on building administrative systems on the back end to support our new size and scope. There’s no shortage of things to do, but it’s amazing what we can get done with our small and mighty team!

If you ever want to get in touch to learn more about what we do every day, I’m always up for connecting and hearing from you how we can best support local, small-scale vegetable farms. Keep warm and toasty this holiday season, and may your cheese boards be filled with an abundance of local delights!

~ Clare,


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