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Organic FuturesStruggling for Sustainability on the Small Farm$
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Connor J Fitzmaurice and Brian J. Gareau

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300199451

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300199451.001.0001

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A Sea of Brown Bags and the Organic Label: Organic Marketing Strategies in Practice

A Sea of Brown Bags and the Organic Label: Organic Marketing Strategies in Practice

(p.164) Six A Sea of Brown Bags and the Organic Label: Organic Marketing Strategies in Practice
Organic Futures

Connor J. Fitzmaurice

Brian J. Gareau

Yale University Press

John and Katie’s choice to use the CSA as their primary sales strategy and their decision to keep their farm certified organic are both central to how they market crops and run their business. This chapter examines the opportunities and challenges of both. CSA marketing strategies overwhelmingly helped the farmers we studied run their businesses: providing cash in hand early in the season, easing the financial strain when crops failed, and promoting a sense of community connection—at least with the few volunteers who visited their farms. Likewise, while many critics see organic certification as costly, burdensome, and watered-down, certification still fits with the business practices of some small farmers. But neither CSA programs nor organic certification were a cure-all. Many of the CSA farmers we spoke with still struggled, and continued to shoulder most of the risk of crop failure. Meanwhile, for the majority of the noncertified farmers we spoke with, the choice to forgo certification was a practical decision. The bureaucratic regulations of certification were incompatible with the real world of agrarian life—a life where a year’s worth of literal blood, sweat, and tears can be undone in nearly an instant by unforeseeable pestilence, disease, or weather.

Keywords:   Organic Certification, Non-Certified, Marketing, Community Supported Agriculture, Community, Volunteers

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