- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The director of the UC Small Farm Center, Shermain Hardesty, said there are a number of hurdles California small-scale farmers must overcome to compete in state's highly industrialized food production and distribution system, according to a recent Bakersfield Californian news story. The article, written by Jeff Nactigal, centered on Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, a system in which consumers pay a monthly subscription and receive a weekly supply of produce, typically organically grown.
Featured farmer Vernon Peterson started his CSA 10 months ago with 50 subscribers and now delivers more than 1,000 boxes of organic produce to 20 cities between Tulare and Simi Valley.
“There’s growing interest in local foods. So he’s taking advantage of the locally produced, and the identity about who’s produced what in the box,” Hardesty was quoted in the article.
She noted that marketing, developing a customer base, offering a steady variety of products and maintaining a customer-service mentality are important elements of a successful CSA.
The article also cited information from "Riding the Organic Wave," by UC Davis Cooperative Extension agricultural economist Karen Klonsky. The publication says organic sales in California are growing at double-digit rates while the number of growers has stayed the same.
Don't miss the video produced by the reporter himself, which is available on the same page as the story, to the left of the text.