Bulletin #4807, Farm Coaching to Support Farm-Team Communication: Session 3

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S3: Harvesting

Goal of S3: Highly individual based on specific goals and needs of Communication Plan. Activities selected if appropriate.

Group check-in.

Review Homework from S2.

Activity: Roles and Responsibilities

  • What jobs does each person do?
  • How does staff know who to go to for what? Where/how is this communicated? (Employee manual, orientation, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs))
  • Which jobs are wonderful? Which ones are slogs?
  • How to minimize slogs and plan for more wonderful?
  • Which do you like to do alone? Together?
  • Are there seasonal shifts (ie: from transplanting & planting to harvest)? How do these change/impact daily and seasonal schedules?

Activity: Identify and/or develop a few SOPs (e.g. hiring, farm stand management, cleanliness, vegetable processing, crew meetings, microgreen production)

Activity: A ranking tool to assess and evaluate opportunities/choices/changes

Activity: Plan a Team Building Meeting for/with farm crew

  • What are the goals of the meeting?
  • Have each crew member do a SWOC and share with group?
  • Plan for crew meetings through the busy season.
  • Do crew members need role clarification?
  • Does a particular area of the farm need a whole crew troubleshooting session?
  • Are there policies that need refining, discussion, development?
  • Does the crew need help with disagreements, grievances?
  • Craft an agenda and materials list based on the findings from the above questions.
  • SOP article from North Carolina State Extension

Activity: Craft a Communication Plan. (This may be saved for S4 or done at S3 with an amount of time for implementation prior to S4)

A Communication Plan might serve the farm team in:

  • Prioritizing tasks
  • Making financial decisions
  • Managing staff
  • Planning off-farm work
  • Planning for childcare
  • Brainstorm the following parts of a Communication Plan:
  • What (meetings for prioritizing, meetings with financial focus, staff/management meetings, personal needs like fitness, reading, family time, etc.)
  • Where (on-farm, over dinner out, etc.)
  • Who (Managers? Family? Crew?)
  • When (Daily, weekly, monthly, annually)
  • How (Email reminders? Farm calendar as a communication tool?)


  • Any from S1 and/or S2 that are applicable
  • Write up a division of labor SOP for staff so everyone knows:
  • Their job description, expectations and “chain of command”
  • Which manager/farmer is responsible for which tasks
  • How to communicate about that subject (email, text, in person, etc.)
  • Contact specific support people/organizations (Small Business Development Center, Insurance company, lawyer, etc.)

Closing: Self-evaluation

  • Coaches model answering the question “How did I do?” Expressing appreciation and correcting any gaffs, oversights, unintentional harms, etc., that may have occurred. Farmers are invited to do the same.

Closing: Plan next meeting time and place

Send out S3 Notes 5-7 days after S3 meeting
Send out S4 Agenda 5-7 days before S4 meeting

Example of a weekly plan of contact, meetings, farm needs, work schedules:

Person AWorkOn FarmWorkWorkWork  
Person BWork at Flower OperationHarvest DayWork at Flower OperationHarvest DayOn Farm 
Person C Fitness ClassFitness ClassFarmers’


Person D Preschool with child  
Farm Needs – Farm15-minute Farm Meeting 
Farm MeetingCSA Newsletter   Financials

Pay Bills

Day Off?

Big Project Day?

Evening Dinner?

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