2018 January

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

[Note: Decisions in bold italic.]

Call to Order: Katy called the meeting to order at 5:30 PM.
Members Attending: Anna, Anne D., Anne R., David, Eric, Katy, Ken, Mary Ann, Matthew, Samara, Theresa
Members Absent: Jodie, Sam
Staff Attending: Rick, Viña, Caragh, Liz

Minutes of January Meeting

On a motion by Matthew, seconded by Anne D., the minutes were approved as presented 11-0.

Financial Report

Anne and Rick reported that the County Budget Committee meeting went will with no questions and our proposal was approved as presented. There is a $1700 carryover into 2018. This may be especially needed if Extension is awarded the SNAP-ED contract it has applied for, as more staff would be housed in Waldo. The current financial report was distributed and reviewed. On a motion by Mary Ann, seconded by David, the financial report was approved as presented.

Educators’ Report Highlights

Rick distributed a report of his activities since the last meeting, diverse and lengthy as usual. Even with the Ag Trades Show in this cycle, the most time-consuming task has been collecting the 2016 financial records from 40 dairy farmers for the Cost of Production Survey that the Maine Milk Commission uses for justification on the Maine Dairy Relief Fund payments (a critical support to survive the low federal payment schedule present in recent years). Many farmers have been unfortunately uncooperative to providing the data, which is used to supplement their below cost-of-production milk checks with Maine General Fund resources.

Farmers’ Potluck

Anne D. gave a verbal report on the great speakers and arrangements shared by email for the February 10 potluck in Belfast. The room is being rented at a discount; it was agreed to announce this at the event and send a thank-you letter. There is room for 1 more panelist. Anne is waiting to hear back from the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association. Rick will ask Lou Pasano to talk about food trends; Lou is from Hancock County and was well received at the Ag Trades Show.

Rick will procure ecological food utensils, plates and beverages.

The key now is for all WCEA members to help publicize the event via social media, flyer distribution and word of mouth. The following commitments were made for distribution:

  • Samara: MOFGA including MOFGA calendar and Palermo stores
  • Anne D: Monroe
  • Anna: Hilltop and College including McKay
  • Eric: Swanville
  • Ken: Frankfort
  • Anne D: Belfast except Anne R YMCA and Theresa Aubuchon
  • Viña: Lincolnville General Store
  • Rick: Maine Grass Farmers Network
  • Mary Ann: Unity except College, Thorndike, Troy General, Amish Community
  • David (via Mike Smith): FEDCO
  • Matt: Brooks and Johnny’s (via Co-op customers)
  • Theresa: Sea Dog, Bangor

Agricultural Plastics Committee

David has led the group and made the report. The group determined that it needed to be educated before any kind of recommendation for action could be developed. It was felt that this could be an open public event for anyone interested, with the target beneficiaries still being Waldo County farmers. Given the momentum for February 10, it was determined to hold this event during the afternoon (1:30-3:30) just prior to the potluck in the same location at the bargain rental fee of $100. Given the cancellation of the December meeting, the committee has gone ahead and made commitments trusting that the WCEA would agree. The forum is tentatively organized as follows:

  1. Ag Plastics Show & Tell to help understand different types of plastics and their relative recycling market value.
  2. Nate Leonard, former director of 3-year grant at Cornell study Ag plastics (Thanks to Rick for securing Nate’s willingness to come as the grant is now over).
  3. Panel of Commercial Recyclers to Discuss Current Markets and how Agricultural Plastics Might be Approached
    • Unity Area Regional Recycling Committee
    • TOMRA
    • Eco-Maine
    • Fiberight (pending Maine staff hiring)
    • Casella
  4. How WCEA might engage (short discussion to be continued at February 13 meeting)

The WCEA endorsed the program unanimously.

Mary Ann agreed to contact the Maine Resource Recovery Association and MaineDEP to invite them to attend (if not join the panel).

Rick agreed to take David’s contacts, have Billie Jo/Sonia turn them into a database and list serve and create a flyer for the event.

All agreed to help get the word out along with the potluck.

Rural Living Day

The evaluations of RLD 2017 were distributed and read. A shortcoming was noticed in connecting comments to specific workshops. Viña shared that this has been frustrating, with trail of several software products. Mary Ann and Liz expressed interest in helping set up the Evaluation Survey.

Viña and Caragh led a brainstorming session on Rural Living Day workshops. Many ideas were shared. The following were identified as priorities at this point: Tick Prevention & Exposure for humans and livestock, Raising Meat Rabbits, something from Jim Borealis and Frank Giglio, Eric or someone from Cheese Guild. A committee was formed including Anna, Viña, Caragh and…that will meet to further sort out workshop suggestions before the February meeting. Viña will send out a Doodle poll to schedule the meeting. Viña will also set up a Google Sheet open to the entire WCEA to finalize speakers and the schedule.

Next Meeting: February 13, 2018, 5:30 PM. This will enable immediate evaluation of both February 10 events.

Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 6:55 PM.