August 10, 2015

Piscataquis County Extension Association

Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

August 10, 2015

Present:  Walter Boomsma, Karen Dolley, Donna Coffin, Georgia Underwood, Janet Yelch-Weatherbee, Tish Dutson, George McKay, Dotty Hadler, Richard Neal, Trisha Smith, Barb Baker – via web

Meeting called to order at 3:06 PM. Walter notes there is a sign-up sheet being distributed for volunteers needed at the Piscataquis County Fair, August 27-30. Executive Committee members are encouraged to volunteer, if able.

Secretary’s Report – Report reviewed by the Committee and were unanimously accepted.

Budget Report – see attached report.

Program Reports

Copies of written reports received and e-mailed. Copies distributed to Executive Committee members. A few highlights:

Farming/Horticulture – see attached reports from Trisha and Donna. Donna reports a large crowd for the annual Weed Identification Walk! Donna also notes that a suitable candidate was not found this year for Food Corps. Trisha was able to harvest robust garlic from the SeDoMoCha garden!

4-H Youth – see attached report. Barb reports 4-H is planning a silent Auction at the Piscataquis County Fair and quality donations are being accepted. A poster was distributed to Executive Committee members. Barb notes a former Extension 4-H employee has lost her home in a fire, monetary donations greatly appreciated.

Unfinished Business

Telephone System Update – Janet has written letters to Fairpoint and OTT and these letters were distributed for Executive Committee members to review. Executive Committee members voted unanimously to mail these letters out. Janet notes we have not yet received a bill from OTT.

Work Plans and Public Relations – Keep saving/clipping newspaper articles for the Piscataquis County Cooperative Extension Accomplishments scrapbook. These articles and pictures can be used for the Annual Report!

Food Corps Update – Walter reminds Executive Committee members that Extension will not have a Food Corps worker this year. The school garden at SeDoMoCha was discussed. Georgia has done some weeding and notes there are two additional beds located away from fenced in area with lettuce, onions, peas and carrots growing that are heavily mulched, Richard has made a gate and will find out where the sand shed will be located and how this may impact the school gardens, Trisha has harvested garlic and notes pumpkins are growing, Donna wonders if Sheila could do a program with the children around harvesting and using garlic and pumpkins, Barb notes that an attractive, well-kept garden is very important as children return to school and discusses a successful school program that involves a “day of planting” in the spring-the next fall the next grade harvests the produce-educational and fun programs including cooking and crafts are planned utilizing produce-attempt to get parent involvement, Walter wonders if a “work day” is needed in September to add beds, add cow manure, add wood chips for pathways. Walter reports he has talked with Mr. Murray and Principal Kimball and there is a great deal of interest in continuing a school garden. Executive Committee members discussed the importance of a “school garden” versus a “Food Corps garden”-Tish wonders if a sign “SeDoMoCha School Garden” would help with ownership, Donna wonders if providing a stipend to a teacher to incorporate planting, caring for a garden, and harvesting and utilizing produce would promote the concept of a school garden. Another option discussed was utilizing the money Extension would have spent on a Food Corps worker on a part time person willing to work 4-8 hours/week and provide the leadership needed to promote school ownership of the garden in addition to assisting teachers and students to care for and maintain the garden. Walter will discuss these ideas with the Principal at SeDoMoCha. Donna will pursue the possibility of adding hours to a current Extension employee if one were interested in additional hours.

Budget Strategy Update and Discussion – Donna is working on the Highlights report. Walter notes that the Piscataquis County Commissioners Budget Committee members are the same as last year. Executive Committee members again note the importance of volunteers and volunteer hours and placing a monetary value on those hours. Trisha and Amanda have been working on an electronic reporting form for Master Gardeners to quickly and easily keep track of their volunteer hours. Janet is in agreement with this plan and notes e-mail reminders are good too! Volunteer hours by Executive Committee Members are valid and valuable!

The Annual Meeting – The date is October 30, 2015 for the annual meeting. The meeting will be held at the Dover Foxcroft Congregational Church. Natasha Colbry will be asked to cater this event. Potential speakers discussed included Gray Harris, Director of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Program and John Piotti of Maine Farmland Trust. Consensus was either would be acceptable and Donna was asked to pursue.

New Business – none.

Next Cooperative Extension Executive Committee meeting planned for September 14, 2015.

Meeting adjourned at 5:00 PM.