January Membership Meeting Minutes

January Membership Meeting Minutes

2011-01-03 CVFAC Membership Meeting

Present: 15 members

Gail opened the meeting at 4:06pm.

Report on the first board meeting
She broke up functions into four main areas, assigning directors to each area:
Fundraising Directors: Luanne Armstrong, Kyersten Kerr
Event Coordination Directions: Kyersten, Jessica Piccinin, Caroline Martin
Communications Directors: Valerie Comer, Pat Huet
Connectivity Directors: Luanne, Jessica

Gail says the board is committed to current initiatives: Farmers’ Market, Harvest Share, and the Farm Fresh Guide. While each of these needs additional funding, the goal is to get each to a point where they are independent financially.

Gail hopes to move forward after reviewing the Strategic Planning Sessions from previous years. One of the priorities is the motto: Let’s Grow, Let’s Eat, Let’s Share.

Let’s Grow: Gail says the second two parts are well represented by current initiatives but we’re not directly involved in growing. Ideas include:

1. Lawns-to-Gardens initiative as a contest or project.

2. A second Community Garden might be another possibility, as the current one is small and fully subscribed. Perhaps there is room for a larger garden project through schools or daycares.

3. Seed Bank, as our local food security depends on seeds. Pat Huet says the ideal would be a physical climate-controlled space. This will require money we do not currently have. Possible stop-gap measures include:

4. More seed exchanges, perhaps adding one in the fall. Formalize Seedy Saturday and expand upon it. Carmen says this ties into the college ideas and agrees that Friends of the Community Greenhouse might be involved. Luanne says there is a program called Seeds of Diversity to look further into. Jeanne says Garden Club does a plant exchange in the spring, mostly ornamentals, but might be open to food plants, too.

5. Seed Registry. A section on the website could be devoted to a list of who has what seeds available for trade or sale. Would need to be kept current.

6. Seed Saving Education. Many of us do not know how to save seeds. Jeanne says the college has funding for speakers. Maybe run workshops. Carmen will look into it.

7. Beginning Vegetable Gardening Classes. Discussion followed on how to best to run such a class. It must connect experienced gardeners with those who are inexperienced. The class should take the vegetables from seed to processed for winter. While the college runs several programs through the community greenhouse, they don’t currently have a class such as this. Luanne suggests we advertise these classes outside of Creston.

8. Farmer to Farmland Connection. Kaslo ran a program connecting people with land not being fully used via a database. The nature conservancy ran a similar workshop in Nelson.

Board Governance Training in February/March: Community Skills program from Trail will do a workshop here this winter for the CVFAC board and the Herb Cooperative board. Training in grant writing will also be available for some board members.

Farmers’ Market Report: First market will be May 7, 2011. The plan is to have it in the same location as the summer market. Reported by Jen Comer.

Herbal Cooperative is moving forward and partnering with some growers in Alberta. New members are being processed for growing in 2011. Greenheart Herbal Society just had a board change. Community Greenhouse now has a new greenhouse about 14×60 that is wheelchair accessible; another greenhouse is expected this spring. Reported by Carmen Rockwell-Hoover.

Fall Fair AGM is coming up. Creston Agricultural Society currently has representatives from the beef, dairy, grain and fruit growers. They sponsor an annual grad bursary of $500-$1000. They run the Farmers’ Ball in November. They’re tied to the agricultural land commission in an advisory role. They’ve tried to operate farm tours for local politicians but have not yet been successful. Reported by Randy Meyer.

**Jeanne moves that the FAC should send two delegates to the Agricultural Society to explore a mutually beneficial relationship between the two organizations. Discussion followed. Pat seconded. Two opposed. Carried.

Discussion included the following points:
1. Many of the Ag Society producers are involved with GMO crops. How can we support that?
2. The FAC’s job is to support all growers and to encourage people to educate themselves, then follow their hearts and minds.
3. The FAC’s position should be progressive toward organic.
4. GMOs are the biggest threat to food sustainability.
5. The FAC does not wish to alienate any growers.
6. By being open we can communicate and learn from each other
7. Many farmers believe GMO is the only way to be productive. Perhaps we can help educate them in other methods.
8. Many local farms are not certified organic but choose to be as natural as possible.
9. Wayne Harris is held up as an example of an organic farmer active in the Ag Society. Through this he has the ability to educate and drive change.
10. Canola is the biggest local GMO crop, then silage corn. GMO alfalfa is not available in Canada.
11. There comes a point where a farm cannot get out of GMO production, even if they wish to.
12. Exchanging ideas is fine, but we need to determine what the FAC stands for.
13. Education is the key. You don’t get anywhere by being against farmers. Educate consumers instead, and they’ll demand the change.

Garden Club: They do not meet over the winter. They did garden tours last year and raise funds for a bursary. A few hundred people participated. Reported by Jeanne.

Could FAC do farm tours in conjunction with the Garden Club? Liability insurance has been cited as a problem in the past. How about waivers? Bag lunches for participants? Catered by someone? The board will look into the farm tour option.

Volunteer Opportunities:
1. Farmers’ Market committee needs one more member, a vendor or not. The committee meets monthly, year round.
2. Harvest Share committee needs to be set up, preferably with 3 members able to meet year round to assist Alexandra. July-November is the heavy season, but some meeting throughout the year for funding, etc, would be needed.

CVFAC Membership Dues: $25 per household per year. Thanks to those who have already paid, and a reminder to those who have not.

Hellman Grant Application: Jeanne reported that Hellman did not accept our application for workshop funding.

RDCK: Randy reports that Abra Bryne will be holding another meeting in Creston in the next few weeks.

Farm Fresh Guide: Gail spoke with Anita in sales at the Advance. They publish the Visitors’ Guide and would like to put the Farm Fresh Guide into the centerfold for $100.

**Randy moves that we accept the Advance’s offer of placing the Farm Fresh Guide into the Visitor’s Guide for the total price of $100. Jeanne seconded. Carried.

Gail dismissed the meeting at 5:37pm.

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