Last Sundays FoodConnect workshop in Adelaide was fantastic, The Mad Gnomes kindly picked me up on the way. My tired brain may not do it justice but I'll give you some emotions and basic reflections that are sitting pretty close to the surface. The afternoon was;
:: informative. It clarified what the non-profit CSA organisation is all about and how we, the consumer and interested and supportive city based community can help to get it up and running. It also re-defined the concept of 'producer'/farmer as besides playing trade with commercial producers, FoodConnect will also take your home grown glut and pay for it, you just need to call them and let them know! No producer to small. Incredible. Connecting. Obvious. Fantstic. Cost comparisons were also given, the takehome message being that prices fluctuate but on average you pay 20% less to equivalent to supermarket prices!! Irresistable huh? The deals provided for farmers outstanding, fair and just. I saw one dairy farmer gasp! New business/economic models in action.
:: community building. I can't tell you how exciting it was to be amongst a group of farmers who also want to step out of the modern food production and distribution system and to sit with other dedicated consumers/supporters of such change. I seriously wanted to jump up at one point, tears flowing and say thank you to everyone for caring about this and for DOING something about it and WHAT MORE CAN I DO TO HELP IT SUCCEED ?( no, Im not premenstrual nor pregnant and I hadnt 'had a few' either) Weird. Meet the farmer trips are planned periodically for 'city cousins' and consumers. Feedback is that everyone involved LOVES these.
:: expansive. I must confess to being worried that a SA based system like this may have found its environmental climate a bit tough for the restricions on producers placed by the FoodConnect boundaries for producers (loca rules). Not to worry. The bounty the farmers had listed ( 60-80% anticipated organic) was extensive and went beyond my wildest dreams. A cornucopia of fabulousnes in a fruit, veg and dairy box; a foodies dream. Those CSA boxes are shaping up to put home gardening out of business.
:: clarifying. the role of the 'city cousin' was defined. City cousins form the drop of point for regional/local distribution (essentially making them 'the loca shop' without any cash changing hands) where customers can pick up their boxes at a designated time and day. Involvement in socialising optional (you dont even have to be home) but for me this is an exciting part of being a 'city cousin' is the networks and community building it offers with likeminded local people. 'City cousins' also get good discounts on produce, so if you need an incentive, this may be it. 15-20 customers per cousin seemed about the norm. Very managable in terms of storing boxes and traffic. If you're interested in being a 'city cousin' its not to late. Check out the Food Connect Adelaide website and fill in an expression of interest form.
:: Food Connect Adelaide is anticipated to launch in the early new year of 2010. The Adelaide group are inspiring and have done an incredible job. Im very appreciative we have people like this around.
Get involved. Food Connect Adelaide needs people like you and me to help it succeed!