FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Are you a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmer? Are you looking to start a CSA or wanting to increase the success of your existing CSA? If so, Thinking Inside the Box, the 2022 Tri-state CSA Conference is the place to be Nov. 12-13.
Held at the Walb Student Union on the Fort Wayne campus of Purdue University and the surrounding area, this two-day conference will feature informative sessions and speakers covering a broad range of topics from marketing to managing your CSA to production practices.
“This will be a great opportunity to network with other CSA operators”, said Christie Welch, one of the organizers of the conference. “I think farmers really value learning directly from their peers.”
The conference gets underway Saturday morning, November 12 at the nearby Hawkins Family Farm in Manchester, Indiana. A farm tour (registration required) will include information about how the Hawkins family plans and manages food safety on the farm, and attendees are encouraged to ask questions about the CSA operation.
The full conference begins at 2 p.m. at the Walb Student Union. The featured farmer for that day will be Corinna Bench, co-founder of Shared Legacy Farm, a 400-share certified organic CSA, and founder of MyDigitalFarm podcast. On the show, Beach share tips and information about how she grew her CSA customer retention rate from 66 to 78 percent in just one year.
Joining Bench will be Tricia Phelps, CEO of Taste the Local Difference (TLD), Michigan’s local food consulting, media, and marketing agency specializing in communication strategy for Michigan’s local food businesses. In her eight years with TLD, Phelps has developed a five-county program into a widely recognized, statewide local food brand and consumer education marketing campaign.
“Additionally, to help facilitate networking amongst our attendees, we have a reception planned Saturday evening where you can visit with other conference goers and sample some of the best Indiana beers and/or wines,” added Welch.
In addition to the educational opportunities, the conference will feature a local foods menu developed and delivered by Walnut Hill Catering and Events. The menu will consist of 90% locally produced foods.
The Ohio State University, Purdue University, Michigan State University, Central State University, and USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education are the organizers of the conference. Conference sponsors include Miller Chemical, Harvest Host, Rupp Seed, and the GUSNIP NTAE Center’s Nutrition Incentive Hub.
If you would like more information or to register, you can do so at go.osu.edu/csa. The registration deadline is November 6, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. If you would like more information please contact Christie Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Michigan State University Extension