The Shandaken Project's structure, in particular its membership program, was inspired by Community Supported Agriculture—an alternative economic model that came to America in the 1980s. In a CSA, members pay a farmer up front for a portion of that year's harvest, which they collect later on. They may supplement their monetary contribution with donated skills, knowledge, or work hours. The CSA is a productive model because:
- A large group of shareholders contribute small amounts, which is typically more sustainable than a small group contributing large amounts.
- It has a self-regulating size: it cannot grow beyond the capacity of the land to provide or a community to absorb shares.
- Shareholders receive a high-value return on a modest investment, while the organization gets a commitment and mandate directly from its community.
- Operating on a two heads are better than one premise, a core group can provide a wealth of knowledge and experience to help an organization succeed.
We absorb the lessons of CSA and apply them by:
- Privileging intellectual capital over investment capital.
- Committing to human-scale enterprise, growing deeper not wider.
- Relying on small-scale donations and giving substantial rewards for support, in particular commissioned limited editions by contemporary artists.
- Empowering supporters to help shape the organization through open dialogue about the organizationís goals.
We hope you will become a member
to help us preserve our human-scale enterprise and provide a safe space for experimentation and process.