Greetings Friends and Neighbors!

       Happy Spring!  This year marks my 25th year of tilling the soil, sowing, tending, and harvesting on this farm.  A quarter of a century, can you believe it?!  

       It’s been quite a journey over all these years, to say the least, and I am feeling deeply grateful for the relationships I have with the land and with you, our farm community, as well.  These feel much deeper and more significant than typical business / customer relationships.  After feeding so many of you and your families, and being supported by you to build this farm, for well over two decades, you feel more like family or partners in this project.

       At critical points along the way you have supported us with your business, your donations, volunteering, cookies, canned goods, and moral support in all forms.  It feels natural, and even essential, to be transparent with you about the challenges, as well as the successes we face in running the farm, which is, for so many of you, your farm too!


Financial Sustainability 


       After sharing with you about the State of the Farm in our newsletter last fall, we’ve taken some time over the winter to reflect on the evolutionary path of the farm and to take a deep look at the financial health of the business as well.  With the support of our professional bookkeeper and a farm business consultant, Britt has spent countless hours upgrading our bookkeeping systems, analyzing our numbers from multiple angles, and bringing into focus some eye-opening perspectives on the farm finances, which we need to share with you. 

       For many years, Anna and I were able to build and run this farm by sheer will at times.  By working very long hours at extremely low wages (less than $4 per hour for many years), we were able to make ends meet to realize this dream.  At this point in time though, paying a living wage to the farm’s employees, including the farmer, is a necessity in order to continue as a viable, sustainable business. 

       Last summer we realized we were in new territory when we needed to take out our first-ever operating loan to keep the farm running.  Thanks to your incredibly generous support in response to our request in the fall, we raised over $20,000 to help us repay our loan and cover our operating costs, ending the year with just under a 2% profit margin.  

       Since setting our 2022 CSA share prices last autumn, the world has changed a lot.  In recent months there has been a surge in input costs (for the farm and for everyone else), with inflation up over 7%.  Even though, as a horse-powered farm, we may not be as directly dependent on petroleum fuel for our work, rising prices do affect the cost of all of our purchased inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, and really everything we buy.  After a recent reevaluation, we’re now projecting an increase in expenses of $19,000 over our original 2022 budget.  

       One main benefit of the CSA model is that our income is secured before the beginning of the growing season when you pre-purchase your shares.  One of the downsides though, is that with prices set many months in advance of production, we are less flexible to respond to a rapidly changing economic landscape like what we are seeing right now.

       After the huge influx of support we received last fall, we believe that you truly understand the value of the work we are doing and are committed to supporting our efforts towards financial sustainability. 

       We have always been committed to remaining accessible, and we have worked hard to make sure that we don’t price our community out of membership.   We want to make sure that any solutions to our financial puzzle still offer flexibility and accessibility to all.  Historically we’ve offered two prices – the standard share price and the low-income share price.  The cost of these low-income shares can be fully reimbursed by Massachusetts’ SNAP / HIP programs, making them more accessible than ever to low-income shareholders.   Many years ago we created the Farm Share Fund specifically to subsidize these discounted shares.  Because we are committed to providing low-income shares, regardless of the amount in the Farm Share Fund, we have decided to close this specific fund.  Instead, we are inviting contributions to the farm as a whole, knowing that all those who qualify will be granted a low-income share no matter what.




       We want to offer transparency and have our pricing reliably cover our costs.  In considering ways to sustainably address our budget shortfall beyond fundraising pleas, we’ve arrived at a new, tiered model of CSA share pricing.  We want to give you the opportunity now to support us in making up the gap we currently face in this year’s budget by sharing this new payment structure while current CSA share payments are coming due. 

       We’d like to invite you to pay for this year’s share at an Adjusted Price for 2022, which accounts for the increased costs we are facing.  This price would effectively cover our budget shortfall and support the financial viability of the farm this year.  Because so many of you have already reserved your share at the prices we set last fall (thank you!), we feel we can only invite you to choose to pay at this higher level.  We cannot require a higher share price right now, so paying at the level we initially advertised over the fall and winter is still an option.

       We’re also offering an option called the “Sustainer” Share.  This price reflects the actual retail value of the produce in your share.  Historically, our standard CSA share prices have been about 35% below retail value and low-income shares have been priced about 45% below retail. The Sustainer Share option gives members with the means a chance to balance the farm’s income with those who pay at a reduced price.

       By choosing to support the farm at the Adjusted level or at the Sustainer level, you can help us to cover our essential operating costs this year.  Below are the different size shares and their tiered price options.

Part Time Shares

Sustainer Share Price: $465 or above ($130 increase)

Adjusted Price: $395  ($60 increase)

Initial Standard Price: $335

Low Income Price: $270 

Regular Shares

Sustainer Share Price:  $930 or above ($335 increase)

Adjusted Price: $720  ($125 increase)

Initial Standard: $595 

Low Income: $475 


Large Shares

Sustainer Share Price:  $1160 or above ($385 increase)

Adjusted Price: $905  ($130 increase)

Initial Standard: $775 

Low Income: $620


How To Help

       If you have already signed up for a share and paid a deposit, or even paid in full, you can still use these new share price options. Simply sending a cash or check payment at the adjusted or sustainer level is the best way for you to help us cover our operating costs this year.

f you can, please begin to pay down your share balance now, as opposed to waiting until CSA begins in June - it would really help our cash flow!  Please pay at the level that works best for you.  Remember that cash or checks are always preferred over credit card payments, to keep your money here on the farm and minimize the amount of fees we need to pay to credit card companies.  Email us if you have any questions about how to pay an amount different than your original digital invoice, which was sent when you initially signed up for a share.

       If you have not yet signed up for a share, but intend to, please sign up now.  At this point in time, we only have 14 shares remaining until we sell out for the 2022 Main Season.

       Thank you so much for your continued support of this farm and all that it represents for our collective health and wellbeing, both now and into the future!

       With deep gratitude, on behalf of the farm and all its farmers, 


(413) 369-4269
Natural Roots
888 Shelburne Falls Rd
Conway, MA 01341-9661

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