CSA software features


This pages lists some features commonly offered by CSA software packages.

OFN’s current CSA offering:
Existing features we offer CSAs:
• Online ordering - CSAs can configure the frequency of ordering and the shipping and payment methods to suit their model.
• Ability to from multi-farm CSAs with clear division of products and payments moving between each party.
• Customers can select ‘add-ons’ to their CSA shares, such as bulk dry goods, eggs and bread.
• Basic customer accounts - CSAs can add members, create custom ‘tags’ and track their balance (basic).
• Reports features help to generate harvest sheets, packing sheets and invoices.
• Easy addition of buying groups, to expand the reach of distribution networks.
• CSAs can have a ‘private shop’ or a public shop.

Features OFN could add to strengthen our offering to CSAs:
• More detailed customer accounts- to include standing orders, member only shopfronts, better payment tracking, database of member info (payment status, order preferences, delivery method etc).
• Members can sign up to a specific CSA/hub, rather than the OFN generally. This sign up process can be tailored by the CSA, and in the process they select their preferences- which standing order (small, med, large), any regular add ons, their preferred delivery and payment option.
• Improved internal messaging system- to send reminders etc.
• Box builder tool. Also, rather than creating a product called ‘mixed box’- ability to add certain products into that product, so that reports reflect what was put in boxes.
• More complete website integration. Either make their profile more detailed, or have the shopfront link sit in their existing website?

• I believe this software ‘adds on’ to existing websites. It adds a horizontal menu at the top of your website. Or standalone - see example - https://www.farmigo.com/market/howardbeachcrossfit-howardbeach?category=4748773540495360.
• They have a map and search tool.
• When the customer signs up for a subscription they select a ‘terms and conditions’ box. The terms and conditions can be set by that CSA.
• When signing up, member has ability to pay in full, or select a ‘payment plan’
• Ability to customise order confirmation/sign up email. Can create this template and send the email from within the software.
• Within the customer’s account, they can see credit and debits against their account - not dissimilar to what’s planned in our customer accounts (Build customer accounts interface (for enterprise user))
• ‘Delivery hold’ if the customer goes on holidays they can postpone their subscription. You can set the deadline for this.
• Members can login and add items to their standing order/share. (Customer can have a Standing / Repeating order)
• Customisable shop sorting with tabs (see below)

• The enterprise user can see a list of their subscribers, with data about them. Sign up dates, balance, payment plan, location, history of orders/deliveries, emails history (sent from within system)
• Can send out emails to groups of customers from within system. Can sort the mail list by ‘over due’ , tags, people on certain delivery routes, ‘people who haven’t ordered’.
• Can send coupons to people who haven’t bought in a while (create codes).
• Members getting home delivery can be ordered in the order you drop off, with map. So you sort of create the delivery run.
• ‘Box Builder’ - helps to plan the ‘shares’ and know what harvest totals are. Select products, then add quantities for different box sizes. Tallies cost. Can assign items to the producer they’ll be coming from - Katie has said this would be a valued feature. (see below)

• Can tell you what you need to harvest across multiple order cycles- based on your boxes/shares.
• Packing sheets (slightly better than a CSV file).
• Label maker
• More complex delivery planner for deliveries ( people with many pick up points).
• Analytics- creates graphs of a few metrics (compare sign ups, sales etc month to month)
• Can set your automatics responses (with triggers ie sign up)
• Automatic alerts can be sent from within the system (reminders, pick up)
• Newsletter email templates to encourage CSAs to send newsletters and make it easier.

Member Assembler
• Can create discounts and coupons to help to re-attract lost customers- you set a coupon code, which the customer can enter at checkout
• Public and private shopping cart tools - Similar to member-only shops
• Box building tool
• Emailing from within - you can have automated reminders, segmented and scheduled messages.
• Member login dashboard which has important info- from the dashboard they can see their balance, pay their balance, change their share options, renew, vacation hold…
• Member renewal and rollover process.
• “Buy Down Style CSA” - here the member buys store credits ($) , which they draw down on over time.
• Each farm has their own website at small farm central… then on their homepage is a link ‘Member sign up’ for new members.
• Some shares are compulsory (ie Vegetables) and then members can select an ‘egg share’ as an add on. (Shopfront - wishlist)
• Customers can search by location to find their nearest drop off point.
• CSAs can ask customers questions during the sign up- such as ‘do you have allergies’ or ‘how did you find out about us’.
• Member terms and conditions.
• When customers checkout, they pay for their ‘share’- no payment plans, but have invoice option. Another option is to pay by credit card- giving permission for 4 deductions to take place over the season…
• Have a delivery report- like ours, but you can filter by shipping methods/delivery point. The report doesn’t print as a CSV, but a page… and you can select whats on the page… such as name of customer, their phone number, delivery run, member ID, subscription type

Delivery Biz Pro
This system seems to be extremely flexible, have many features, suited to many different types of businesses. It’s not specifically a CSA software, but a more general delivery software.

  • minimum order rules for products
  • can set a date range of availability to a product
  • Pre-orders for things like christmas hams
  • control feature products and sale items.

Harvest Hand

  • Basic features, nothing not listed above.


Things we do better!

  • We’re well setup for Multi-farm CSAs. I can’t see that other software connect up the producers and have E2Es.

OFN comparison with 'similar' platforms
Credit/Advance payments : how to enable it?
Enable customers to pay (partially or fully) with their credits
Enable customers to easily credit their account for a given hub
Possibilities of using OFN for organizing CSAs

@Selmo Think we need to work with some trial CSAs to identify core/most important features to fill out OFN offering for this model (either directly or by integations with others). This could be a group of features the we then focus on crowdfunding for. Would be interested in views of your peeps in Burgundy.


I am in touch with a CSA in Norway who may be interested in using OFN - meeting up in January to demo OFN and discuss potential cooperation. Currently 10-12 producers and approximately 200 shareholders - a very interesting pilot project :wink:

Box builder

I work with a lot of CSA farmers (I still offer 20 shares/year from my farm as well). I have a meeting set with a number of CSA and direct marketing farms in a week or so, to talk up OFN-CAN and get their input/thoughts. I think CSA ‘style’ features will be big on their ‘wish’ list. The thing to remember here is that CSAs are rapidly diversifying, and, at least in Canada - most CSA farms also sell at farmers markets, and direct from farms, and to restaurants, and to hubs… Fewer and fewer small scale farms can afford to focus on only one marketing stream. We all sell everything to everyone through every channel we can imagine. The one thing I want to mention about Harvest Hand – there is a lot of buzz about them in Canada right now for two reasons. One - simple fee structure. Two - they are committed to building communities, not just selling shares, and it gives them a ‘non-corporate’ image/style (very similar to OFN). I think CSA farmers like this.


You’re missing LocalHarvest.org’s CSAware and CSA Manager! http://www.csaware.com/


Hi @sstead!

Very interesting topic you opened here, although in 2016 you did it even better: Existing customer interfaces for standing orders / recurring orders / subscriptions / CSA shares

Maybe a better format to work on a wishlist for CSA functionality would be a discourse wiki-topic or a pad? Else this becomes a bit static and this post her is more a comparison with other softwares than a wishlist.


Hi @yova, yes this thread no longer fits the wishlist category. I’ve reclassified it to ‘research’ as the initial exercise was a competitor analysis/market research style investigation. I’ve made the page into a Wiki so anyone can add further examples of CSA software that they’re familiar with. Feel free to modify/rearrange, its pretty messy atm.