The eleventh annual conference got underway this (Friday) morning for INCA, the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture. Spokesman Kevin Jensen says founders wanted to share their knowledge and create Community Supported agriculture programs. C-S-A, or Community-Supported Agriculture, is set up so that the farmer plants a variety of crops, weeds and fertilizes and grows it all season — but members of the community buy a share up front, so they’ve paid ahead of time and share some of the risk with the farmer.
Jensen says they’re even welcome to come out to the farm with their families and help do some of the work if they want. At the end of the growing season they’ll own a share of the harvest. Today (Friday) there’s a Missouri panelist who’s a nutrition expert — Melinda Hemmelgarn speaks about toxic versus healing environments. Joanna Devine is an Award-winning filmmaker from Flagstaff, Arizona. And Wil Bullock from Boston is a singer-songwriter who energizes youth with performances about community food systems.
Members of INCA aren’t all farmers — Jensen says backers of community-supported agriculture come from all backgrounds. He says in addition to producers there are consumers and marketing folks — a wide range of people with an interest in community agriculture. He says INCA is a group that helps people build relationships, in addition to sharing information, and as an example he points to the Saturday luncheon. Like every other year of the conference, it’s a potluck lunch, a means to bring people together, start conversations, and get to know each other.