University of Wyoming Extension News

Lingle, Cheyenne workshops explain Community Supported Agriculture ventures

UW Extension and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture are sponsoring two free workshops for those interested in starting Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) ventures.

The Lingle workshop is 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, at the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center, 2753 State Highway 157, near Lingle.

The Cheyenne workshop is 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Laramie County extension office, 310 W. 19th St., in Cheyenne.

Lunch is provided for both workshops. Space is limited and RSVP is requested by Tuesday, April 2, for the Lingle workshop, and Tuesday, April 9, for the Cheyenne workshop.

“Community Supported Agriculture gets locally grown, seasonal food directly from an independent farmer into the hands of a group of supporters from the community,” said Cole Ehmke, extension specialist in personal finance and ag entrepreneurship. “The idea is that people purchase a share of the farm production, then, during the production season, they get a box of vegetables or other farm products every week.”

The workshops will introduce the CSA concept and present ways to make CSA ventures work in Wyoming. Insights from Wyoming’s 19 existing CSAs form the basis for a new manual on operating CSAs that will be available.

Lingle agenda:

·      9 a.m. – Welcome and introductions

·      9:20 a.m. – The CSA concept, Ehmke

·      9:45 a.m. – CSA in the Mountain West and the CSA manual, Ehmke

·      10 a.m. – Interview with Cindy Ridenour, owner of Meadow Maid Foods

·      10:45 a.m. – Break

·      11 a.m. – Pricing and marketing and communication, Ehmke

·      11:45 a.m. – Lunch

·      1 p.m. – Extending the season, Jeff Edwards, extension educator

·      2:15 p.m. – CSA business practices and financing the CSA, Ehmke

·      3:15 p.m. – Food safety and good agricultural practices (GAP), Linda Stratton, assistant manager, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Consumer Health Services

·      4 p.m. – Open session for discussion and questions

·      4:30 p.m. – Close

Cheyenne agenda:

·      9 a.m. – Welcome and introductions

·      9:20 a.m. – The CSA concept, Ehmke

·      9:45 a.m. – CSA in the Mountain West and the CSA manual, Ehmke

·      10 a.m. – Pricing and marketing and communication, Ehmke

·      10:45 a.m. – Break

·      11 a.m. – Season extension and getting the most from your high tunnel, Catherine Wissner, extension horticulturalist and Master Gardener coordinator and co-owner of Wild Winds Sheep Co.

·      11:45 a.m. Lunch

·      1 p.m. – Interview with Wissner and Ridenour

·      2:15 p.m. – CSA business practices and financing the CSA, Ehmke

·      3:15 p.m. – Food safety and good agricultural practices (GAP), Stratton

·      4 p.m. – Open session for discussion and questions

·      4:30 p.m. – Close

Wissner will discuss her own CSA, Wild Winds Sheep Co., based in Carpenter.

“It’s very gratifying to know that I’m feeding my clients the freshest, tastiest vegetables possible, and for my clients, they know how their food is grown and who grew it,” said Wissner.

Insights from Wyoming’s 19 existing CSAs form the basis for a new manual on operating CSAs that will be available at the workshops.

“The University of Wyoming has developed a road map manual of that first step for people who grow vegetables and want to start selling their produce but don’t want the hassle of selling at a farmers market,” said Wissner.

Getting a CSA up and running is simpler than many realize, noted Wissner.

“These are how-to-get-started workshops to sell shares out of your vegetable garden and myth bust that you need a large plot of land to do this,” she said. “Actually, a gardener doesn’t need a huge piece of land to do a CSA. For example, a well-managed, 1,000 square-foot plot could feed a family of fourplus two to three CSA members.”

To RSVP and for more information, contact Wissner at 307-633-4383 or cwissner@uwyo.edu.