Over the past 9 years our CSA program has been on a slow steady increase in membership. This has helped us to grow and operate our farm. The income we receive from you our members allows us to make all of the upfront investments we need each year to get our operation up and running.
This year for the first time in our history we have experienced a massive decline in membership. Last year we served 325 members through our program. We anticipated a slight growth to 350 members this year and have made all of our plans accordingly. Currently we sit at 225 members or 125 members shy of our goal. What does this translate to for us practically? It means first and foremost that we are approximately $90,000 short of our operating capital target. For a small farm like ours this is a major blow. Despite our best efforts membership has remained at this low level with little to no change over the past couple months. So what to do?
We are scrambling now to find farmers markets who have space and attendance for a farm like ours, a challenging task this late in the season. We will most likely be partnering with some of our wholesale restaurants and stores to create weekly pop up markets to try and generate cash flow and move extra product as the summer season approaches. For the future a massive downsizing is no doubt in order for us to shrink our production and our cost to the current reality.
How can you help? There are 3 ways…
Refer new members: Spreading the word about our membership program is as important now as it has ever been so we can continue to add memberships all through the season. If each member refers one new person, we could double our membership! Check out membership options and share the link.
Add additional funds to your current membership: Any money that you add to your account will be available to you until you have spent all remaining funds, there will be no expiration. AND, it will be a massive help to us by adding capital to our farming operation. Add store credit to your existing membership.
We know that closing the $90,000.00 gap is a challenging goal for this year but if each of our members added just $100 each it would put $22,500 into our account and help us reach the bulk of our summer sales season.
Our wholesale business still continues to grow and we are confident that cash flow will return. The challenge is that income doesn’t arrive until late July and our expenses are stacked in May and June.
We have thought long and hard about this request of our community of supporters. It is a difficult spot for us to be in and we will continue to work tirelessly to put Silverthorn back on solid financial ground. We are hesitant to use bank financing, although it may be a possibility. We know that we can and will produce incredible food for our community. If you are able would you consider adding whatever you can to your membership account? No matter the amount, it would be a huge help to us!
Thank you for all that you do to keep this farm going!
Nate & Emily