An ACORN Event

Online CSA Conference

Date(s) February 5-6, 2018


Online CSA Conference

ACORN with the generous support of our Sponsors* and Network Partners** are pleased to present our 2018 Online CSA Conference.

Cost for Participation in the Online Conference***
$75 for members
$100 for non-members

Please register by February 4th.



DAY 1: Monday, February 5th

9:30 AM -  Welcome and Overview

SESSION 1 - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Taking your CSA to the 22nd Century - Elizabeth Henderson

A trend? A marketing scheme? A visionary movement? Let’s look over the history, see what has made CSAs thrive, and what the state of play is today.  Where are CSAs going strong? Where are they struggling? What limits CSA growth? Then let’s reflect together on where to go next. Should farms make CSAs more convenient for members? Would a CSA Charter help? Are there other strategies? Please bring your particular challenges with CSA, your ideas and questions!

11:00AM - 11:30 AM - Group chat box discussion (Live chat in real time. Get your specific questions answered)

1.5 hour LUNCH BREAK 

SESSION 2 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Pricing Your CSA  - Jen Campbell, Jen and Derek's Organic Farm, PEI  and Patricia Bishop, Tap Root Farm, NS

Calculating the true value of your CSA box As each farm and CSA operation are unique what are the factors that impact pricing decisions?  Two experienced Maritime farmers share their methods for calculating the true cost / value of their boxes and their considerations for ensuring the balance between support for the farmers and good food for their customers.  

Come with your questions, resources, methods and ideas for effective pricing.  

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM - Chat box discussion

30 minute break

SESSION 3 -  3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

CSA Retention - Patricia Bishop and Jen Campbell 

High retention rates can mean less overall marketing to attract new customers to your farm business.  Though reasons can vary for leaving a CSA (summer vacations, family moves, kids leaving home), what are factors that can contribute to CSA customers returning year after year?  And becoming ambassadors for you and your farm? Patricia and Jen will overview their methods for retaining customers in NS and PEI and what types of offerings are available through their CSA programs.

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM - Chat box discussion 


DAY 2:  Tuesday, February 6th

9:30 AM - Welcome

SESSION 4 - 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Multi Farm CSA Cooperative Marketing - Andre Cantelmo, Heron Pond Farm, South Hampton, NH

Considering partnering with other farmers to create a multi-farm CSA?  Would focusing on growing the crops that each farm grows best and marketing together work better? Can multi-farm CSA marketing and administration be more efficient and stream lined than single farm CSAs?  Join Andre Cantelmo as he shares his experience at Heron Pond Farm.  He'll outline successes and challenges to consider when partaking in this method of sharing the bounty and sharing the risk with both your CSA customers and partner farmers.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM - Group chat box discussion

1.5 hour LUNCH BREAK

SESSION 5 - 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM 

Innovating on the CSA Model: Driving Growth and Retention with Consumer Insights - Simon Huntley of Small Farm Central

As competition increases for consumer's local food dollar and consumer expectations around technology and convenience change, many CSA farms are struggling to attract and retain members. Simon spent a year diving into the peer reviewed research, doing surveys, and having in-depth conversations with current and former CSA members to determine what changes to the model can be made to bring more consumers to CSA programs

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM - Chat box discussion

30 minute break

SESSION 6 - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Planning / Planting / Diversity - Strategies for CSA Success: Planning, Changing, and Decision Making - Mike Smith, Ignatius Farm CSA, Guelph ON 

Every CSA is as unique as the farmers running it; however they are not all successful. Like any business there are lots of variables that impact the success or failure of a business.  In order to say ahead of the curve you need to be able to change with the changing business environment. When do you scrap a system or crop, in favour of something new? How do you measure success on your farm? Managing people isn’t always easy, how do you create a positive work environment where the negative effects of conflict are minimized? Does everyone on your team know how their daily goals fit in with the farms big picture goal?

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM - Chat box discussion and final wrap up!



*ACORN would like to thank New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, PEI Department of Agriculture and Forestry through Growing Forward 2.

**Thanks also to ACORN Network Partners:  Community Credit Union, Johnny's Selected Seeds, Multi Shelter SolutionsOMRI - Organic Materials Review Institute and Natures's Path 

***ACORN's Cancellation Policy - All notice of cancellations must be received in writing one week in advance and 75% of registration fees will be refunded, with the remaining 25% to support ACORN's administrative management. Cancellations received after this date will not be refunded. Substitutions received in writing from the registered participant will be accepted. Cancellations and substitutions should be forwarded to