2011 Meeting Minutes

May 20, 2011
June 3, 2011
September 20, 2011
November 18, 20111

_______________________________________________________________
May 20, 2011
VIRGINIA FOOD SYSTEM COUNCIL
14th Meeting Minutes, May 20, 2011
 9:45 AM – 1:30 PM
JABA, Charlottesville, VA. 

ATTENDING:
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE, Chair (by phone)
Chris Carpenter, W&L Dining, Co-Chair (by phone)
Katherine Smith, VABF, Treasurer
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Secretary
Melvin Atkinson, Va. Beach Dept. of Ag.
Gordon Walker, JABA
Rick Felker, Farmer (by phone)
Molly Harris, Lulus
Don Loock, PEC
Mike Waldman, Society of St. Andrews
Allie Hill, Infrastructure

Pre-meeting and Meeting Handouts:
Welcome and Approval of March 18 Minutes: Katherine Smith
Treasurer’s Report

  •  Balance: $210.29.    $107 was contributed to the Va. Food Bank which has acknowledged gratitude.

Strategic Planning Session:
Consultants contracted from UVa Institute for Environmental Negotiation: Christine Gyovai and Kristina Nell Weaver :  a 2 hour discussion of the current Strategic Plan’s Goal 1, Goal 2, and Goal 3. The group revisited priorities of the organization, as well as what is realistic, and also emphasized the aspect of sustainability which to date has not been in the forefront of the Council’s work and projects.  It was noted that in doing so, we need to avoid alienating any major players in the food system. Notes are attached, and decisions were voted on by consensus.

Actions required:

  • Eric and Rick volunteered to define Sustainability and express a rationale for it;
  •  Spencer requested we work on a rationale for “safe”.
  • Three groups formed to work on fleshing out Goals and their Objectives and Actions:
  • Goal 1:  Molly, Lynda, Allie
  • Goal 2:  Spencer, Don, Judy
  • Goal 3:  Mike, Katherine, Gordon

Don agreed to transcribe the notes on the flipchart sheets as well as the final versions of the above 3 groups’ work.

The meeting adjourned. Special thanks to the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging for hosting the Virginia Food System Council!

Respectfully Submitted by Lynda Fanning, Secretary
___________________________________________________________________________________________
June 30, 2011

VFSC with SV Food and Farm Network
VCE-Northern District Office, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Summary of Shenandoah Valley Farm-to-Table Summit
Initial priorities and topics

  1. Coordination and documentation on ongoing initiatives and efforts in and across the Valley as a clearinghouse
  2. Logistical and distribution support for producer-buyer-institutional connections
    1. FreshFork Market applications
    2. Food aggregation hubs
  3. Expansion and implementation of season extension and GAP training
  4. Explore development of Food Corps Program http://food-corps.org/video for region and state
    1. Valley Crop Mob at JMU, Sustainable Food Corps at VT, WLU, MBC, EMU and other universities
  5. Continuation of Bay-friendly agricultural practices at all scales with awareness of Virginia’s Watershed Improvement Plan http://www.deq.virginia.gov/tmdl/baywip.html
  6. Mobile nutrition education and farmers market concept like Gus Bus
  7. 20 to 25% local procurement by restaurants and institutions in 5 years

Update on National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Farm-to-Table and Water Quality grant -Eric/Dale/Christopher/Francie/Amber

  1. Producer recruitment and Continuous Improvement Plans
    1. Goals
    2. Sample plan
  2. FreshFork Market – Shenandoah Valley platform
  3. Buy Fresh Buy Local
    1. Website, podcasts, launch parties, and discussion
  4. Turf Love and Public outreach
  5. Guide to On—farm milk processing
    1. Focus group discussion in July
    2. Educational program in fall

Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) efforts and upcoming Master Gardener event

Proposed dates for visit to Snowville Creamery and AceNet in Ohio

  1. July 13, 20 or August 3

Interest in visiting Mark Lilly’s Farm-to-Family mobile farmers market in Richmond?

Possible visit from Larry Laverentz of the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program – Eric

Upcoming Events:
July 9 Grand Opening of the Friendly City Food Co-op in Harrisonburg
July 14 – Fields of Gold: Agritourism Visioning Session 9 AM Augusta Co. Govt. Center
July 18 – Next Go Local Film Series
Sept. 24 – Master Gardner Training and Workshop
October 24 – Food Day as part of Real Food Challenge Aging
December 6 – 2nd Virginia Food Security Summit in Charlottesville

Suggested reading: Roberts, Paul. 2008. The End of Food

_____________________________________________________________________________________________
September 20, 2011
VIRGINIA FOOD SYSTEM COUNCIL
15th Meeting Minutes, Sept. 2, 2011
 11:00  – 11:30 PM
By Conference Call

ATTENDING:
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE, Chair
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Secretary
Spencer Neale, VFB
Melvin Atkinson, Va. Beach Dept. of Ag.
Charles Green, VDACS
Judy Berger for Gordon Walker, JABA
Don Loock, PEC
Mike Waldman, Society of St. Andrews
 Voting By Proxy:
Libby Oliver, Williamsburg Farmers’ Market
Andrea Early, Harrisonburg City Schools
Christopher  Carpenter, W&L
Molly Harris, Lulus Local Foods
Allie Hill, Infrastructure
Jan Briede, Va. Dept. of Conservation

Pre-meeting and Meeting Handouts:

Conflict of Interest Policy

Welcome and Explanation of Conflict of Interest Policy, needed for filing Tax Form 1023.
Filing this tax form determines that the Council is tax-exempt.

Motion by Don Loock and seconded by Judy Berger to accept and abide by the Conflict of Interest Policy. Roll call by name elicited seven “yes” votes, with seven  documented  proxy  “yes” votes   which constituted a quorum, and the motion passed unanimously.

Meeting adjourned:  11:30 am

Respectfully submitted, Lynda Fanning, Secretary
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

November 18, 2011

AGENDA
9:45 AM –  2:30 PM
Friday, November 18, 2011
Jefferson Area Board for the Aging, Charlottesville, Virginia

ATTENDING:
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE, Chair
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Secretary
Melvin Atkinson, Va. Beach Dept. of Ag.
Judy Berger, JABA
Don Loock, PEC
Andrea Early, Harrisonburg City Schools
Molly Harris, Lulus Local Foods
Allie Hill, Infrastructure
Jan Briede, Va. Dept. of Conservation
Katherine Smith, VABF, Treasurer
Rick Felker, Farmer
C. Connor Crook, Registered Agent
Gordon Walker, JABA
Maria Van Dyke, VFSC Secretariat

Welcome, Brief Introductions, and Approval of Minutes: Eric

Treasury – Katherine Smith:
A.    Treasury has $125.00.
B.    Still need the commitment for the Secretary position from Spencer = $3000.
C.     $9455 has come in for the security summit. This goes towards the matching of blue moon fund.

Executive Committee and Council Position Needs – Eric, Lynda and Katherine
A.     Filling Council Vacancies

  • EC requires 4 officers and 4 at-large members; Current Exec Committee: Molly, Rick, Spencer, Mike, Eric, Lynda, Katherine, Chris.
  • Need to fill Mike Foreman’s, Chris Carpenter’s, Pablo Elliot’s and Eric Bendfeldt’s positions.
  • Kate Collier suggested Emily or Alan to fill the ‘Food Supplier and Product distribution role’ b/c her role at Food Hub has changed.
  • Need to fill Pablo’s position as “ Local Food Council or Group”. Ask Airlie whether their role has changed. If so, we need a new person/org to fill that role.  Then write a letter thanking Airlie.
  • Chris Carpenter asked us to accept his resignation immediately due to health. role = Food Acquisition for Institutions (Higher Education).
  • Nominating committee appointed to fill vacancies:  Molly, Melvin, Katherine (Committee Chair), Don, Judy (This Committee MUST report back by January 20th Council Meeting)
  • Umbrella ‘points’ to keep in mind for nominating committee
  1. Gordon suggests that we pursue one of the blue moon fund grantees so we have someone with knowledge of clean water TMDL standards relevant to a clean Chesapeake Bay and farm issues.
  2. Tanya’s input (via email): We need clear representation from the major universities as well.

B. Potential Nominees

  • Neil Halverson Taylor
  • Mike Burton for Food Acquisition for Institutions.
  • A representative of BFBL
  • Need more representation from Southern Virginia
  • Stacey Miller of the National Farmers Market Coalition– Consumer Rep
  • Scott Smith from Highland County, who is with the new ag center.
  • Katherine mentioned ‘Christopher Newport University is involved and Katherine will call to look into that more…
  • A representative from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) or maybe the Va. Soil and Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD)
  • Anne Jennings – Chesapeake Bay Foundation (blue moon fund grantee)
  • Kathlyn Terry, ASD (blue moon Fund grantee)
  • American Farmland Foundation, SARE or Martha Noble from NSAC Martha Noble <mnoble@sustainableagriculture.net>
  • An Institution; governmental or sustainable. We need more involvement from the Dept of Health. Talk with Heidi Hertz.
  • Tonya Davis – ask Lynda about her.

C.  Group Discussion about upcoming Annual Meeting and replacing Director vacancies: Council Re-commitment: We need these replacements to have more commitment and passion, especially with F2T.

  • A letter was sent out at this time last year however the eliciting of official commitment was not consistently followed through.
  • Discussed:  possibility of travel stipend for some, possibility of video conferencing, going back to rotating meetings around the state again though that did not work in the past, etc.

D.Ideas for Inspiring action in the Council

  • Need an assignment for Board members or Committees to bring to the meetings to increase participation.
  • Need to begin phone call follow-ups.

E.     Suggestions for more participation

  • Connor  – driving force is personal involvement. Establish committees tasked with doing things outside of this room. Get engaged in something.
  • Lynda – Reminder Calls as well as the emailed agenda before the meeting. Look at past participation to identify those to fill the vacancies in the leadership positions: co chair/chair).

Virginia Farm-to-Table Recommendations
A.     Comments on Farm to Table Recommendations

  • “Local” needs to be defined as Virginia.
  • Council’s need to decide role in the Farm to Table Program. What do we want to take on?
  • We need to do something tangible.
      • Document needs more ‘action’ commitment and use of active voice.
      • This should increase activity of our council membership to think about Action Plan and how we can move forward with this knowledge.
      • This plan is not only to inform us but also to inform all organizations here in Virginia. Therefore, we should get away from over-using the word ‘assess’.
      1. Need to emphasize eating ‘healthy’ locally rather than just eating locally. Man cannot survive on local ice cream alone.
      2. Look at Recommendation # 5 in the F2T Recommendation document.
      • What is our (VFSC) role? Organizing? Implementation?
      • Our strategic plan: processing, website, legislation.
      • Need re-wording of Recommendation #5 to include us VFSC more in the implementation
      • How are we going to work towards implementation?
      • We should stay above the bureaucracy!
      • Eric cautions that the assessments are needed to move policy and identify critical GAPS of knowledge or knowledge sharing – DEQ will be developing resource mgmnt plans. At first large plans rather than smaller. Farmers need to be aware of what protects water quality. Only 10,500 farmers have participated on conservation programs and most are poultry, cattle, and dairy. Across the state we landfill a million tons of food. Why are we not encouraging more composting? Dept. of Transportation has $ that can help in a more urban environment, ie. Use of solar. EB agrees to expand and re-word #5
      • Donsuggests what number 5 should say: “VFSC dissects these recommendations and takes the lead in finding who can address each one and brainstorms how they can address it. VFSC will use our broad reaching council to ask, “Who do we know that will get this done?”  We are a catalyst and a steward of the plan. Our role is to shepherd these things forward.
      1. Maintain that VFSC take lead role in implementation by bringing these groups in. The Council works with them for creating a workable plan. The “shame factor” occurs when online maps show gaps in the various regions.
      • Katherine –  Donald’s Meat Processing example:
      • If you are not grandfathered in for meat processing how many agencies do you have to go through to even get a permit and how much money does it take?
      • To conserve water need to go thru FSA, DoF, NRCS, DoH, and DoA. There are too many barriers for landowners/farmers who just want to start.
      • Do these hurdles apply to other businesses?
  1. Molly – The VFSC is an umbrella group for identifying gaps and bringing them to the legislators’ attention.
  2. Motions to Legislator – Here is the problem and here is why fixing/changing it will be good/ This is how you (the legislator) can help/ ask them to address current policies/regulations that are stifling.
  3. A reminder of what we (VFSC) do.
  4. We educate and communicate – link, connect, educate, direct!
  5. We gather and disseminate information.
  6. We find overlaps, find the dis-connects, learning why org’s exist.
  7. We identify small steps to make it better.
  8. Rick – A useful thing we could do is create a website! (Maria/ Allie have already started)

B.      Food Security Summit & Farm to Table Recommendation ‘Goals’. Where to go from Summit?

  • Connor’s comments (Strategic Steps)
  1. Identify 5 points of what we do to drive the implementation of this plan.
  2. Think about grant writers’ perspective and marketers’ perspective.
  3. This assessment is new to legislators.

a. Here is the plan – We need to create a bill. We write the legislation and bring it to them we need to do that. Then we need to find a sponsor.(shorten)
b.This is the other project (other than website) we need to work on? Let’s develop our forward steps now.

      1. Emphasize at Summit that we have worked with legislators and we intend to continue working with them.
      • QUESTION: How much continuity will be at the Summit?
      • QUESTION: How would we act on some of these items in the recommendations?
      1. We need assistance to work against bigger businesses. Who can we work with?
      • ** We CAN Use this F2T plan to accomplish our strategic plan**

Delegate Tony Wilt: Conversation and proposed meeting with VT, VSU, UVA and Council delegation on December 2 with members of Governor’s Office 
A.    Delegate Wilt will introduce the Farm to Table Summit on December 5th and 6th  

  • The1.65 billion dollars factoid resonated well with him.

B.    MEETING DECEMBER 2nd with Del. Wilt.

  • We will educate Del. Wilt on the F2T plan.
  • Ask him about best avenues to take given the political and economic situation.
  • This is business and job growth, so it falls into our local VA economic development focus.
  • Molly and Rick will attend the meeting with Delegate Wilt on Dec 2nd.
  • We need to show him numbers.

Update on Development of ‘Legal Guide to Farming in Virginia’ – Don
A.    The big goal is to combine all the VA documents that are floating around out there into ONE for ease of use.

  • Can everyone look at Vermont Legal Guide and see if you have any recommendations for ours based on that one? Also see North Carolina’s Legal guide as a resource
  • Look at state PDR(Purchase of Development Rights) group and state development group too.
  • Molly will help and is putting together a Va Fairs event for the end of February which ties in closely with the development of the legal guide.
  • We need topics and lead authors on each section of guide from the Advisory Committee by December End.

B.    The Research going into this guide and the guide itself will…

  • Clean up the ambiguity in regulations and laws.
  • Map out the distinct legal structure of regulations.
  • Focus on Land tenure, labor and environmental insurance, regulations of org’s,  processing and marketing
  • Help us identify where the problems really lie rather than where everyone thinks they lie. We are utilizing Cornell’s and Vermont’s Guides and how they developed them.

C.    This is a Definitive Guide and needs buy-in across the state.
Appointing the Advisory Committee

  • EIN is helping to facilitate this Legal Guide Advisory Group
  • Don needs 3-4 people for the Advisory Committee and has already appointed:
    • Julia King, appointed
    • Jesse Richardson, will invite.
    • Martha Walker, will invite.
    • Council Voted to create a Committee to appoint the additional Advisory Committee

Committee to appoint Advisory Committee:

  • Melvin
  • Spencer – Don will ask.
  • Gordon Groover – suggested by Eric
  • Website Development – Allie and Maria
    A.    Council Website

  • Presented new VFSC website
  • link is here:  http://virginiafoodsystemcouncil.org/
  • B.    Resource Website

  • Presented sections and categories of this overarching food system resource site that is directed at Farmers, distributors, packers, community members, policy makers, education and planners.
  • Allie and I would like EVERYONE in the COUNCIL (even those that did not attend the Nov. 18th meeting) to send us links that will help us fill out all the sections. YOU can insert your links directly into the ppt. document and send it to us or you can just send us your links and comments in an email referencing the category you are informing us about.
  • Extra funds for buy-in Membership for the Center for Non-Profit Excellence (CNE)
    There are no extra funds at this time. Can each organization that already has a CNE membership see if they can include Maria in on their organization since what we are is a partnership of organizations? Maria will check with PEC, JABA

    Revisit Strategic Plan
    Created a Strategic Plan Committee – Lynda, Maria, Don, Eric
    1023 Document
    Presented the finished and submitted 1023 application for the final step of our Non-Profit Tax-Exempt Status and to receive our Letter of Determination.

    Then we can:

  • Get our Non-Profit Gmail account up and running
  • Get listed on GuideStar as a legitimate non-profit which puts out our name to people who may be looking for Local Farming Organizations to Donate to.
  • Get our DONATE button up and running and verified on our website account
  • Fundraising Ideas
    A.    Question of where to put our energy
    B.    Decided on going for ‘big grants’ instead of smaller community events since we need to grow our followers first and get our Farm-to-Table projects underway before we start asking individuals for money.

    Schedule of Council meetings for 2012 – click here
    Upcoming Events:December 5th and 6th – Virginia Food Security Summit
    Please Sign-Up Now! www.foodsecuritysummit.org

    • Delegate Wilt will attend.
      Special thanks to the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging for hosting the Virginia Food System Council!