Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) – Not everyone is happy…

The following communication is between Marcy Nameth of Greenhorn Acres, a CSA customer, and myself.

ORIGINAL MESSAGE

From: Marcy Nameth
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 10:22 AM
Subject: FW: CSA – distribution

We’ll see you all this afternoon (Weds.) 3-6 p.m. at Ranch Foods Direct – 2901 North El Paso.

More details in the attached doc, but we did get hit with a pretty hard frost and NEXT week (Oct 16) will be the final distribution for the season.

We are facing increased prices all around and will need to increase our prices for next season.

We’re also going to offer advanced signup for next year so that you can lock in this year’s prices.

Thanks,

Marcy Nameth & “The Boys”
www.GreenhornAcres.com

CUSTOMER REPLY

From: Customer
Sent: Wednesday, October 09, 2013 9:47 PM
To: Marcy Nameth
Subject: Re: CSA – distribution

Marcy, I am going to be very honest. I honestly think we got ripped off, and I would never do this again. For the price, we paid for this share, we got nothing more than excuses and a stupid amount of squash. I truly don’t care about the recipes, as I can look up my own. I would never do this again, and feel like I learned a very costly lesson. I can not believe you are going to raise your rates for next year. I have been very unhappy, and plan on sharing my feelings with Ranch Foods Direct. I am not at all happy with what we got compared to the price we paid, and may even go so far as to go to the better business bureau.

Customer

MARCY’S REPLY

From: Marcy Nameth
Sent: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:50 PM
To: Customer; Mike Callicrate
Subject: RE: CSA

Hi Customer,
I had to think about this for a few days before responding. I’m sorry that you feel ripped off and don’t think that you got your money’s worth. We would rather have everyone be happy customers and we do everything we can to grow good food for our members.

This is the fifth year that Ranch Foods Direct has hosted our CSA distribution. When we started there in 2009 it was $485 per share and our prices have been in the $485 to $515 range. Two years ago we expanded our growing area and were able to sell more shares so we could lower it from $515 to $500. Our CSA rates have been lower than many other farms, but if we can’t make a living, it’s not sustainable. Many of our expenses increased this year, especially water and that will continue next year. As farms go out of business each year, the options for everyone are reduced and eventually we’ll all be buying produce grown in China or Chile at King Soopers. We realize that the CSA model of consumption doesn’t work for everyone but hopefully through the season it has opened your eyes to some of the challenges that face farmers each day.

This year the state took unprecedented action in shutting down irrigation wells. It was totally unanticipated as we made our growing plans for the season and already had many of our most expensive supplies ordered and would have already had seeds planted in the greenhouse if it weren’t for a nasty wind that tore it apart the end of January. The irrigation wells were a major problem for farms all across southeastern Colorado since our semi-arid climate necessitates irrigation if we want to grow produce or any type of field crops.

Part of the CSA model is sharing the risk with the farmers, sharing in the abundance of harvest and the risk that some crops won’t produce or we get hit with a hail storm or a continued drought. We used some new techniques this year with plastic mulch over the drip lines and I’m certain that enabled more production during the hot/dry summer we had. All of the growers in our region were affected by the late spring freezes and everybody’s crops were running late to begin the season and we all got hit in varying degrees with the frost/freeze on October 4th – 11 days earlier than our “normal” first frost.

I have copied Mike Callicrate on this email so that he knows you are dissatisfied. We’re very grateful for their support over the years.

Again, I’m really sorry that you’re disappointed in this season. It wasn’t as good as we hoped it would be but we do everything we can and we enjoy sharing the harvest with our members.

Best regards,
Marcy Nameth

MIKE’S REPLY

From: Mike Callicrate
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:56 AM
To: Marcy Nameth; Customer
Subject: RE: CSA

Marcy,

With all due respect to Customer, I think they may be lacking sufficient knowledge about the risks and challenges in producing good food.

I wish the Better Business Bureau could help us out with the drought, lack of water, and the bad weather in general. I know the South Dakota Ranchers, hammered by the recent blizzard, could sure use the help.

I wish the BBB could arrest the gangsters, thugs and thieves that have stolen our markets. The Justice Department certainly doesn’t give a damn.

Perhaps they could get a grip on Monsanto and Dupont and their control of seed. Cargill really needs sued over their shared fertilizer and chemical monopoly. And we need help getting the Walmart boot off the neck of all of us that are trying to build healthy communities around family farming and good food.

Thanks to you and your boys for taking on this difficult task! Unfortunately, under the destructive industrial food system, we have forgotten what real food costs. To me, your food won’t taste so good if I know you aren’t able to feed yourselves.

Wishing you and your family the best, and better years ahead,

Mike Callicrate
Ranch Foods Direct
2901 N. El Paso
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
719-473-2306
www.MikeCallicrate.com

CUSTOMER REPLY

From: Customer
Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 9:11 PM
To: Mike Callicrate; Marcy Nameth
Subject: Re: CSA

With all due respect to you, I am not “lacking sufficient knowledge”. How arrogant of you! I do cook for my family organic at every opportunity. I know for me and my family, we will not due the share with Greenhorn acres again, and I certainly will not shop at Ranch Foods Direct. Please do not respond to this email. I could care less to hear from you again.

Customer

YOUR REPLY

How would you reply? Please share your comments here (currently experiencing difficulties with comment form)

Share your support for “Marcy & The Boys” with your local BBB and small producers like her nationwide fighting “Big Ag” every day.

COMMUNITY RESPONSE

Hi MIke… Read this exchange with big interest… This customer is showing that they really have no understanding of the farmer plight or the understanding of REAL food. Cooking organic once in a while for your family does not make anyone aware of anything!

My Avog share cost more than $500, that’s for sure, plus adding the other 3 csa’s I belong to, I am sure my costs are waaaaaaaay over $1000, probably even $1500. It is a BARGAIN! There is no comparison of CSA to shopping each week at the corporate stores, getting crappy product, taking precious time to try and BE a defensive shopper – and not to mention my continual disappointment with corporate food stores… “Disappointment” is really too mild… I really get a bit pissed everytime I shop corporate. So the CSA is a hedge against all that negative and a vote for the positive, good food people! Perhaps because I grew up in Eastern Kansas in an agricultural city – Wichita for school and summer time in Chase County at the ranch – I have an intrinsic understanding of the plight of the farmers and producers. This is EVERYONE’S plight, this customer just doesn’t get it.

Wisdom says we can not afford to waste too much energy trying to convince one person of the current reality… it is a waste, truly! Better to spend our energy with the large portion of the population that understands something is wrong with our world, and they are seeking solution. CSA is one big solution! And with the success of CSAs comes the encouragement to others to take up farming and raising stock. We need all the producers we can get! Don’t worry about this person. I know from my conversations with folks at the RFD store or at CSA pickup that we are ALL very happy to have these wonderful alternatives in our lives!

Many blessing to you and to Marcy at Greenhorn Acres! Please feel free to share this letter of support. We all must keep the faith and stand strong in the face of the storm… Love & light.

Becky Elder PCD, EC
Blue Planet Earthscapes
Pikes Peak Permaculture
719-685-0290

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