Connecting our Food Community with Contracts
We need to develop a network of farms, non-profit organizations, academic organizations, and local government. Dr. Brooke Hansel refers to this sharing space as a “collaboratory.” The research of Dr. Hansen and Monica Petrella shows that the same organization type (especially non-profit organizations), tend to cluster together. Our food community is relatively broad. But it needs to be more connected through a single, unifying dialog. Non-profits, for example, are more likely to work with other non-profits than with other members in the food community tapestry. Through collaboration, we exchange ideas, appreciate our common ideals, but also understand our differences.
Contracts reveal that our diverse food communities may have different motivations, understandings, and expectations of community supported agriculture. These differences are healthy. Different expectations show diversity, resliency, and vibrancy. And written contracts represent a blueprint for growing from these differences, and building stronger communities.
Community relationships are the foundation of community supported agriculture, and the subject of my presentation at the Florida Organic Growers conference. In my presentation, we talked about how written contracts build community relationships, and bridge differences among different members of the community. Contracts are a disclosure tool. In particular, community supported agriculture contracts educates consumers about the variability of nature. The risk of crop failure. The potential rewards of bumper crops. CSA contracts signal to community members that they are not just consumers. They are investors, business partners. Through CSA contracts, community members have the opportunity to play a more active role in the financial viability of our local food systems.
It has been a pleasure presenting at the FOG conference. I will be presenting at the next FOG symposium at Ft. Pierce this Friday, and in Tallahassee the following Friday. You may register for the Ft. Pierce and Tallahassee events.