Farms, Food & Economics

Economics is not abstract, inanimate or impersonal. It is not a construct of law or calculation of finance. Rather, 'economics' is highly personal - a web of relationships, of individuals to one another, to our communities, and to the natural world on which we depend. Economics is the material reflection of the spirit and character of those relationships." ~Chuck Matthei

The Equity Trust, Inc.
Small, national non-profit organization committed to changing the spirit and character of our material relationships. We help communities to gain ownership interests in their food, land, and housing, and we work with people to make economic changes that balance the needs of individuals with the needs of the community, the earth, and future generations.

Economics As If Values Mattered
Three-part series redefining land, labor, and capital. Chuck Matthei, November 1993

Farm Planning
Help farmers make decisions that move them toward short-term success and long-term sustainability (economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially just).

Crop Production Budgets
Examples of "process budgets" for a variety of crops.

Risk Management and Crop Insurance Options for New England Vegetable Growers
Examples of "process budgets" for a variety of crops.

Big Five Types of Agricultural Risk
Discussion of the five basic sources of agricultural risk to consider: production risks; marketing risks; financial risks; legal risks; and human resource management risks and the different tools and strategies you can use to manage these risks. (pdf)


Ecomonic Issues in Community Supported Agriculture & Community Farming

CSA farmers focus on product and market diversification, reducing chemical input use, introducing new food products and applying innovative marketing techniques. These farmers are trying to maintain their economic viability by mitigating various detrimental effects such as rising land prices caused by competing land uses and low prices for their product.Warren Lizio and Daniel A. Lass, "An Evolving Platform for Ecological and Economical Agricultural Marketing and Production"

Gaining Ground
Discussion of land tenure and financing for Community Supported Agriculture adapted from a chapter prepared by Chuck Matthei of the Equity Trust for "Farms of Tomorrow Revisited", edited by Trauger Groh and Steven McFadden (Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1997).

Community Supported Agriculture Overview
Over time, two distinct types of community supported agriculture have emerged: the shareholder CSA and the subscription CSA.

Community Supported Agriculture in the Midwest United States: A regional characterization
By Erin Tegtmeier, Director Experiment in Rural Cooperation Kasson, Minnesota and Michael Duffy, Associate Director Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, January 2005. Upper Midwest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations were surveyed to evaluate their viability and provide a regional characterization of the movement. (pdf)

An Evolving Platform for Ecological and Economical Agricultural Marketing and Production
Warren Lizio and Daniel A. Lass, Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, August 2005. Two objectives were to be addressed with this research: (1) to extend previous research on the viability of CSA in the Northeast to a sample of CSA farms across the country and (2) to assess whether different farm characteristics can explain different measures of CSA financial success. (pdf)
cite:, Warren Lizio and Daniel A. Lass


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