Farm Share 2013 Year Review

We considered 2013 to be an extremely successful pilot year for the Binghamton Farm Share. Seeking the input that really counts, we asked farm share customers to fill out a quick survey to tell us what they thought about the program. They agreed.

 

Highlights

Of the 60% of members who responded to the survey, an overwhelming majority said they would participate in the program again next year. Thanks guys, we can’t wait to see you all at the pick-up sites next year!

“I like to know I’m eating good food, from a local farm.” 

More than 80% of the survey participants reported eating more vegetables during the Farm Share than before the program. 100% of respondents learned how to eat or prepare new vegetables during the program. Even us staff learned some new recipes for less-common vegetables like fennel, kohlrabi, leeks, escarole, and kale.

“[What I liked best was the] challenge to create new dishes and eat new foods”

Majority of you were satisfied with the freshness, packaging, and size of your shares. Many of you commented about enjoying the recipes, saving money at the supermarket, and supporting local farmers and the familiar faces at pick-up. Some of you even expressed interest in volunteering with us in 2014, which we were very glad to hear.

 “The program increased the amount of vegetables my family ate while decreasing my grocery bill.”

 

Room for Improvement

In the survey, respondents also suggested ways in which farm share could be improved. One issue for some was the variety of share contents or receiving vegetables they didn’t like. This is hard for us control, as the share contents are determined by the farmer and what is available for harvest. As a solution, we are looking into getting a “swap box” where members can trade in a vegetable they don’t like for one they prefer. The Binghamton Urban Farm is planting new varieties of vegetables this year to diversify their shares.

Customers also suggested offering more pricing and sizing options. We are researching additional farm partnerships, and adding a site downtown that will offer limited small size shares from the Binghamton Urban Farm. Customers also requested more fruit in the shares. We love fruit too! Since our current farmers don’t have large fruit crops, we are considering offering add-ons from fruit farms or orchards for those who are interested in fruit.

 

Changes for Farm Share in 2014

For 2014, we are already setting goals to increase the number of customers and retain more throughout the season by utilizing the share bank to cover the cost of missed shares, having better communication with potential members when deciding which share is best for them, adding a new pick-up site downtown, engaging volunteers to help at pick-up sites, supplying more recipes, and hosting fun farm share events.

We have a diverse customer base of individuals and families of different cultures, ages, races, financial situations, and lifestyles. We continue into the new year adopting new practices to best suit our broad range of customers, paying special attention to our customers receiving SNAP, WIC, or other public assistance as we believe that healthy food should be affordable for people of all incomes.

Thank you for participating in our survey and the Binghamton Farm Share!