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how many CSA shares per acre?

 
pollinator
Posts: 1699
Location: Denver, CO
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I'm wondering how many CSA shares one could theoretically expect to get from an acre. Let's say the acre is in Colorado, so factor in wild weather and not too great of a soil. Let's say the directors/ owners are experienced in gardening, but not in running a CSA (first year) and the volunteer work crew is not really experienced at all (work hours count against shares.) Let's say we want the share to be roughly enough for two people, not their total vegetable requirement, but a good part of it during the growing season, with very little if any to store. Let's say they want to grow a wide range of produce, some herbs, but no animal products or value added stuff.

Most importantly, let's say they are not double digging or using other very high intensity methods.

Given the above, would 200 shares be too many? What about 50? 40?

How many work hours should be factored in per share? (Tending the garden, harvesting, washing, packing?) How many per year, how many per week?
 
steward
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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In northern Utah, I figure that an acre of mixed vegetables can support about 33 CSA shares for about a 20 week harvest season. I figure that an acre requires about 60 hours of labor per week for 32 weeks from fast, hard working farmers. People unfamiliar with farming or with work in general will slow down the real farmers, so if you have amateurs helping plan on it taking twice as long as if you were doing it yourself. I found it best to split the shares in order to do twice a week harvest and pick-up, cause many crops need to be picked twice a week to be in prime condition.

 
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