Image via Farmigo
CSAs, or Community Sustained Agriculture programs, are an excellent way to ensure that the bounty of a farm reaches our kitchen tables. Consumers subscribe to a farm or group (either annual, monthly, or per-box) and receive boxes of freshly harvested, usually organic foods. However, for the farmers, sometimes CSAs can be problematic -- either in how much work it is to stay organized with subscriptions and deliveries or losing out on potential profits because of CSA price caps. However, one new start-up wants to make CSAs easier and more profitable for farms, which is a good thing for everyone. Farmigo basically takes over the back end work for CSA programs. The company states that the main reason the system works wonders for CSAs include that ordering is easy and payment is flexible, delivering is streamlined with individual packing lists and delivery routes, farmers can track their harvest yields and match their capacity with CSA demands, and it reduces costs for running the back end system.
Smart Planet writes that Farmigo is using the Google App Engine to host their new platform, boosting the presence and functionality of community supported agriculture (CSA).
"Farmigo handles all the information about account relationships, customizing the site as necessary for individual farms and backing up the data on a weekly basis. It charges farms 2 percent of revenue, based on what they deliver per month. So, a $100,000 operation would pay Farmigo $2,000 for the year for running its Web site, hosting it and managing all the records."
This system, in theory, will be an "interactive office" for farms participating in CSAs, making them more profitable and reaching their target audiences easier. CSAs work overall, but they can be cumbersome for the farmers and reduce potential profits. Farmigo, however, can hopefully alleviate some of that problem.
CSAs started as a grassroots movement but with today's technology there's no reason programs can't be as streamlined as any commercial agriculture market. Seeing start-ups focus on solving issues like making CSAs run smoothly is exciting for the future of the local food movement.
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More on CSAs
Sacramento High School Students Create Their Own CSA
Self-Sufficiency Versus a Backyard CSA (Video)
How to Find the Best CSA for You