Tuesday, February 13, 2018
[Note: Decisions in bold italic.]
Call to Order: Katy called the meeting to order at 5:40pm.
Members Attending: Anna, Anne R., David, Eric, Katy, Ken, Mary Ann, Matthew, Samara
Members Absent: Anne D., Jodie, Sam, Theresa
Staff Attending: Caragh, Rick, Viña
Minutes of January Meeting
On a motion by Matthew, seconded by Ken, the minutes were approved unanimously with the addition of David, Samara and Liz to the Rural Living Day Committee.
There was little activity in January. We await news on award of the SNAP-Ed grant, which would increase Waldo County office activity. On a motion by Mary Ann, seconded by Matthew, the financial report was approved as presented.
Educators’ Report Highlights
Rick’s report was reviewed. He was asked about dairy conditions. He shared that there was too much supply in both the organic and conventional markets. Organic producers were taking an especially hard hit with quotas. Skim milk is being dumped in VT. The Maine Dairy Program is providing critical relief but may not be enough.
Caragh reported that she is working on training Certified Crop Advisors in pesticide and manure equipment calibrations across New England as part of a SARE grant. She will be administering examinations following training. She is also conducting Master Gardener training in Kennebec County.
Viña helped organize the successful Farm to Institution Summit held on February 9 in Belfast. 275 people attended. She continues to support the Food Corps program until it passes administrative hands on June 30. Regardless of the SNAP-Ed contract outcome, she indicated that her Waldo County based position would remain funded. If the grant is not forthcoming, the nature of the work to be done by the educator is an important WCEA discussion point. Youth development was agreed to be a current weak point compared to food system work with regard to WCEA engagement and may guide future member recruitment efforts.
Ag Plastics Forum
Dave and Rick were thanked for the excellent work in recruiting a great panel. Attendance was satisfactory considering the weather and focus on educating WCEA itself. Dave’s “Table of Shame” was a big success. The speakers are all enthused with being involved with any next steps WCEA might take. Rick will send his draft notes to the speakers and ask them to correct/add as much information as possible to record the data collected, including the BMP’s from Cornell. The Committee (open to all WCEA members) will meet at 4:30 on March 13 ahead of the WCEA meeting to discuss next steps.
Anne D. was ill and unable to attend the WCEA meeting but all praised the great work she had done in organizing a highly successful event. The panel was excellent and inspired thoughtful conversation. The attendees were varied and not the same as the prior year. The venue was fantastic and discounted rental fee greatly appreciated. While roads were slippery early morning, fog was the biggest hazard for attendees returning home. Anne sent word that she would send a debrief out to capture ideas to improve the event for 2019 while still fresh in everyone’s minds.
Rural Living Day
The Committee had a fruitful meeting and 30 workshops and speakers have been identified, to be reduced to 24. Gardening was targeted as an area that was perhaps over-represented. It was generally advised that having a 2-hour session option in the afternoon was desirable for those that needed more time and that the lunch break should be held at 1 hour given evaluations; 2 food lines worked to make this doable. The Committee is set to contact workshop speakers. Viña will set up a Google Sheet to track progress. Tasks needed to be covered by other WCEA members on April 7 will be covered at the March 13 meeting. It was suggested that we use Rural Living Day to actively recruit more 4-H Leaders. A dedicated lunch discussion table for this purpose was proposed, rather than just handing out generalized information. Viña agreed to contact Jodie to set this up.
Rick indicated that the 4-H Foundation needed to know what WCEA wished to do about awarding the remaining funds raised through prior Rural Living Days. The Foundation’s preference would be to keep the capital invested (approximately $8500) and just award the interest earned, optimistically $500/year. The group discussed the options and decided: (1) that $500 was too small an amount to award, (2) that the $1500 offered in 2017 appeared to produce meaningful applications and results, and (3) that it preferred to spend down the capital raised to fulfill the commitment made to Rural Living Day attendees and end the commitment to the program within the foreseeable future. A committee off Anna, Katy and Samara volunteered to meet with the 4-H Foundation to outline the application process for 2018.
March 13, 2018, 5:30 PM. Katy volunteered to bring snacks. Ag Plastics Committee meeting 4:30-5:30.
The meeting adjourned at 6:50 PM.