Fourteen years ago when we were just starting to sell CSA shares, we didn't know if we'd reach enough people to purchase the 50 shares worth of vegetables we were planning.
We issued press releases to local papers and had a couple of nice articles written about us. At that time, Community Supported Agriculture was a very new concept. In fact, Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm was the first CSA operating in our county. This garnered a few sales, but it did NOT sell us out. There's nothing more nerve-wracking for beginning farmer than the prospect of over producing by dozens of shares! This was long before "build your own drag & drop websites" were a thing. It would be a few years before we got our own website.
While searching the internet for places to publicize our farm, Jody stumbled upon Local Harvest. It was a dot org and offered free listings to farmers. We put a listing up. Soon, we started getting inquiries about our farm and CSA. A number of those inquiries converted to paying members. Woo hoo! Since we first put it up in 2003 over 32,000 people have visited our listing. That's about 200 visits per month. Although we have our own website now, we keep our Local Harvest listing up to date.
Over the years, Local Harvest has added a number of features. Early on they added a review feature...we've gotten great reviews on local harvest. The one that has impressed us the most is the search by zip code feature. CSA farms who deliver to nearby cities can put the address of their drop site and their farm will show up in the zip code search for anyone in a nearby neighborhood.
They've, also, added other features like farm stores, blogs, and CSA management software. We've done a number of these things for ourselves, but I like that it's available to new farmers and those that are less technically savvy.