2012 Meeting Minutes

January 20, 2012
March 16, 2012
May 18, 2012
October 5, 2012
______________________________________________________________________________________
January 20, 2012

9:30 AM – 2:30 PM, Friday, January 20, 2012

102 Governor Street, Second Floor Board Room, Richmond, Virginia

ATTENDING
Melvin Atkinson, Va. Beach Dept. of Ag.
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE
Judy Berger, JABA
Jan Briede, Va. Dept. of Conservation
Catherin Digilio-Grimes, Va. Dept. of Education
Andrea Early, Harrisonburg City Schools
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Secretary
Rick Felker, Farmer, Vice Chair
Christy Gabbard, VT /Catawba Sustainability Center
Dale Gardner, Water Stewardship, Inc.
Charles Green, VDACS
Molly Harris, Lulus Local Foods
Heidi Hertz, Obesity Prevention Coordinator
Allie Hill, Homegrown Virginia, Treasurer
Don Loock, PEC, Chair
Emily Manley, The Local Food Hub
Katherine Smith, VABF
Maria Van Dyke, VFSC Secretariat
Mike Waldmann, Society of St. Andrew
Sarah Weeda, VSU

Minutes

  • Welcome and approval (motion by Mel, seconded by Judy) of November 18, 2011 meeting minutes:  Eric
  • Treasury Report: Not available pending Summit’s final report:  Katherine
  • Introductions:

Sarah Weeda, PhD,  on VSU Staff- Works on food security research and has personal interest in local food issues, worked on potato and grain agriculture in MT. Working in School of Ag. on drought tolerance.

Dale Gardner,a former dairy farmer; Exec. Sec. of Va. State Dairymen.  Now works with Water Stewardship, Inc., a non-profit to provide farmers with resources. Interested in nutrient run-off issues from both conventional and organic agriculture, has received funding from Blue Moon.

Emily Manley, Replacing Kate Collier for The Local Food Hub in Charlottesville.   LFH aggregates and distributes local food from 70+ farmers, delivering to 120+ institutions, etc. It grew by 77%  in 2011 from 2010.

Heidi Hertz, a former Director, Registered Dietitian for “Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth” – Works to reduce tobacco use and prevent childhood obesity. Provides grants to local community action groups. She works with Va’s First Lady for such programs as “Kids in the Kitchen”.

  • Briefing on Summit:Eric
    • 190 attendees on opening night (panel including Kathleen Merrigan from USDA) and 2nd day 324 attendees
    •  Launched Farm to Table Plan and highlighted different initiatives and projects around the state.
    • Presented a distillation of 8 recommendations, and brainstormed in groups the specific action plans.Tanya at UVA’s IEN will send an Executive Summary.
    • Note the high level of interest by attendees who questioned where to go or who to contact for ongoing actions and opportunities for participation.  What is the Council’s role here?
    • A listserve database is started and messages will be sent out as needed.
    •  Will report the top priorities and elicit a call to action for various organizations/groups to join the effort or a working group.
    • The Council needs to decide projects and relay Committee chair contact information on website for each project.

Report from Nominating Committee (Don, Melvin, Katherine, Judy, Molly): Katherine and Maria

  • Limited to 24 per Bylaws; EC may change categories
  • Director Resignations: Jewel and her alternate Theresa; Christopher, Leslie Van Horn, Libby Oliver, possibly Kathlyn Terry.  Eric stepping down from Chair.
  • New nominees/vacated sectors:  Sarah Weeda, Dale Gardiner, a new farmer (Spencer will report), Anti-Hunger, Food acquisition for Institution, Consumer, possibly someone in funding (Cecily Kihn, the Agua Fund)
  • Executive Committee, composed of Rick, Don, Eric, Lynda, Spencer, Jan (voted today), Katherine, Molly:

Council needs to re-elect 4 officers and reinstate 4 at-large members. Lynda and Katherine re-elected as Sec. and Treasurer; later in meeting Allie volunteered as Treasurer and Katherine happily offered her the role. See below.

MOTION TO NOMINATE DON LOOCK AS COUNCIL CHAIR (by Katherine; seconded by Melvin) AND RICK FELKER AS VICE-CHAIR  (changed title of Co-Chair to VICE-CHAIR) VOTE: UNANIMOUS YES.

MOTION TO ELECT JAN AS AN AT-LARGE EC MEMBER (by Allie, seconded by Catherine). VOTE:  YES.

MOTION TO REINSTATE ALL OTHER EC MEMBERS AND OFFICERS  (by Mel, seconded by Judy). VOTE: UNANIMOUS YES.

MOTION AND VOTE TO APPROVE EMILY MANLEY FOR THE SECTOR: FOOD SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION, SARAH WEEDA was introduced for the DIRECTOR FOR VSU and REZA RAFI as her alternate, HEIDI FOR GOVERNMENT, AND TO CONTINUE CURRENT AD HOC NOMINATING COMMITTEE TILL ALL OPEN SEATS FILLED.

MOTION AND VOTE TO APPROVE ALLIE HILL AS NEW TREASURER IN PLACE OF KETHERIN SMITH (by Eric, seconded by Lynda). VOTE: UNANIMOUS YES

  • Note:  Dale may function as Director for Sustainability (that seat not committed) or at least as alternate to Christy Gabbard, or if numbers permit as a Director under Ag.
  • Secretariat will send Directors a notice re: the process of re-commitment of members beginning (this year) in October, 2012. Lynda and Maria will prepare a clear outline of the process.

New Discussion on an offer for the Council: Farmers Table, a Fluvanna local foods heritage festival with presentations, tents, tables, has requested that the Council serve as the “presenter” or legal tax-exempt organization for this event. After discussion Council determined that any such request be prepared as a White Paper with all facts necessary for Council to make a decision and that the Plan’s priorities/goals come first at this time, though we may be able to have a table at this event with our materials.

Strategic Plan and Farm to Table Actions/Goals: Lynda, Eric and Maria

  • Discussed the need for more specific actions that are measurable and that Goal 1 may be too broad, almost like our mission. Consider rewording Goal 1 as “Establish a Farm to Table Plan”or something more measurable.
  •  Note that our primary role is to shepherd and move forward the Farm to Table Plan as an oversight organization
  • Need to clarify our own priorities from the Farm to Table Plan: Discussion: increasing the capacity to provide enough local food to meet a widening demand, via such ways as new farmer education, connecting new farmers to land, policies that level the playing field for the small farmer, etc.
  • Emphasize our position as overall connector and facilitator, not actually carrying out all the actions as much as supporting/strengthening the actions of other orgs/projects/local groups.
  • Each Director needs to identify their VFSC role in their own organizations and be a constant reflection of Council’s role as connector/facilitator, especially in the health arena.
  • Discussion: focus on EBT/SNAP at Farmers Markets, Institutional local food procurement facilitation, a consistent supply, food hubs and delivery, winter production, food preservation, infrastructure, and our Legal Guide to Farming. Specific actions along with committees or working groups are listed as follows:

ACTION 1: THE LEGAL GUIDE TO FARMING IN VIRGINIA: Don Loock

  • A top Council priority currentlysupported by the Blue Moon grant. Don reports that Sue Ellen Johnson has experience and expertise in pulling together this multiple stakeholder process, where many groups, sectors, and organizations need to be around the table for full buy-in to these rules and regulations, as well as to deal with the many gray areas. With Vermont’s and New Hampshire’s Guides as models, he has some writers and legal folks lined up, i.e., for Estate Planning, Julie King in C’ville. The legal guide will also have a section dealing with liability issues selling value-added food to the public.
  • REQUESTED HELP FROM COUNCIL FOR THE LEGAL GUIDE: Don needs real case studies/examples in the guide, that farmers, landowners, estate managers, etc. can relate to, like problems on a dairy farm; the guide will help with who to talk to and what questions to ask.
  • Don also needs input re: who should be on the needed stakeholder committee to open up doors to get good answers.  And to have time to set up regional dialogues. Eric suggested Gary Flory (in the DEQ, the  Valley Regional Office), the agricultural Coordinator working with waste issues, water quality, and compost.
  • Established a Council group to work on setting up an Independent Stakeholder Committee: Julia­­­____, Jesse_______, Martin_______, Melvin, Molly, Spencer

ACTION 2: WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATION: Allie,Maria

  • Beyond our own Council website, discussed having a Resource Website: Gave handout explaining the proposed separate, resource-based Virginiafood.org  website for a very broad audience. It is easily found through a basic keyword websearch, (e.g. Virginia, Food). Also it is very simple and easy to remember.  Now it is just a Domain that feeds into and is fed from the VFSC website. However, maintaining such a large undertaking would require far more funds that we have budgeted. Idea: recruit students/interns from universities in the various regions.
  • Develop a website committee (Allie, Maria, Rick, Sarah, Jan) that strategizes steps or stages to attaining a resource website and evaluating the effectiveness of each stage. Look for funding.
  • Invite Council members’ affiliates to put their presence on the website
  • Grow our email list; send an eblast  and important links on a topic once or twice monthly. Begin initiative to get a list of resources.  Jan will help Allie and Maria with this.
  • Allie and Maria to draft a website proposal and examples of some first steps, like Topic Pages.

MOTION: TO DO $10/WEEK PER HOUSEHOLD CAMPAIGN,(Melvin), AND TO TRACK TRENDS AND DATA AS FEASIBLE.   VOTE BY CONSENSUS AND A UNANIMOUS VOTE OF ALL 3 FINGERS.  Set up committee to meet and report within 2 weeks.

ACTION 3: CAMPAIGN FOR $10/WEEK/HOUSEHOLD ON LOCAL FOOD PURCHASES

  • Committee: Heidi, chair, Charles, Christy, Emily, Eric, Andrea, Melvin
    •  Eric suggests looking into the Iowa food service working group and Wallace Foundation who are involved in increasing local food purchases and learn from their work.
    • NC tracked the effect of this campaign through pledges. Maria will research. Can we get people to make pledges through our various organizations that the VFSC directors are affiliated with? Can VFSC provide a pledging platform on the website? Need press releases and marketing on the website assisted by the Website Committee.
    • Determine a working definition of “local” and also data/metrics for tracking; per Charles, VDACS can do a survey.  Can get data from schools (2009 to now, Farmers Markets, etc. Can show trends even if not exact totals.
    • Go “VIRAL”:  Create a slogan. Allie suggest using “Sleek Logos for $135.Educate/market how to locate and buy local foods. With VFSC as the go-to org. for expanding local use and this campaign, but working with BFBL and Va.-Grown and VFB’s Save Our Food, to work together refining the message and consistency, being campaigned by all.

ACTION 4: AGGREGATION/LOCAL FOOD HUBS

  • Committee: Emily as Chair, Dale, Molly, Melvin
  • There are only 4 hubs now
  • Very little food processing in Va. Most goes out of state for processing so infrastructure needed as well.
  • Need to identify successful incubators and their methods: from funding to suppliers to contacts re: regulations; provide a written template or business plan model.

Note:  The need was expressed to establish a committee to empower people on the ground to build local councils, charging and guiding them to get involved at the local level.

  • Maria and Allie will put together the most important links, facts, and steps to take per our expertise that would help them. Give them a pattern to follow and show how to connect to our Council.
  • Committee: Maria, Allie, Rick, Jan, Sarah

Note:  EBT cards used at Farmers Markets remains a priority of VFSC and VDACS, and as well GAP clarification (Legal Guide); Amber Vellaton and Wyth Morris are working on this.

  • Ask Leanne to write up an eblast about EBT/SNAP progress at VDACS
  • Contact Amber Vellaton and Wyth Morris for an eblast on GAP progress by Extension.  They have a CD for growers and trainers.

Note: House Joint Resolution 88 by Del. McQuinn is at the Rules Committee: to form a group to eliminate food desserts in low-income communities.  Check out line 55.

SUMMARY OF TODAY’S GOALS: PROVIDE REPORT CARDS TO OURSELVES, THE SUMMIT ATTENDEES, AND ON THE WEBSITE FOR THE FOLLOWING: .

  1. 1.   Legal Guide
  2. 2.   Website and Communication
  3. 3.   10$ Local Food Campaign
  4. 4.   Aggregation

Respectfully submitted: Lynda Fanning and Maria Van Dyke
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
March 16, 2012
18th MEETING MINUTES
Albemarle Cooperative Extension Training Room
460 Stagecoach Rd., Charlottesville, Virginia

ATTENDING
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE
Judy Berger, JABA
Jan Briede, Va. Dept. of Conservation
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Secretary
Rick Felker, Farmer, Vice Chair
Christy Gabbard, VT /Catawba Sustainability Center
Dale Gardner, Water Stewardship, Inc.
David Robishaw,  VDACS
Molly Harris, Lulus Local Foods
Heidi Hertz, Obesity Prevention Coordinator
Allie Hill, Homegrown Virginia, Treasurer
Don Loock, PEC, Chair
Katherine Smith, VABF
Maria Van Dyke, VFSC Secretariat
Mike Waldmann, Society of St. Andrew
Sarah Weeda, VSU
C. Connor Crook, Registered Agent

  • Welcome and approval (motion by Katherine, seconded by Mike) of January 20, 2011 meeting minutes (Don):
  • Treasury Report (Katherine):$98.95 as of 3/15/12; There were no funds left above the expenses paid out for the Summit as had been hoped.   Katherine
    • Eric:  the good news is that via the Summit we raised the matching $12,500 which satisfies our blue moon grant requirement.
    • Don: The Boston Fdn. will match $500 for the Council’s operating funds.
    • Mike: The Society of St. Andrew will donate the matching $500.  THANKS, MIKE!
  • 501©3 Status, Bylaws, and Council’s organizing principle (Connor):
    • Our application for Tax Exemption (Form 1023) is still pending with IRS.
    • There is tax “credit” for $ donations to a 501©3.  The non-profit sends a letter of thanks which is then used by the donor for tax records. In-kind gifts are harder to get written off; hours of time cannot be written off.
    • Most non-profits have a Board of Directors, employee(s), and members, sort of like “boots on the ground” that elect the Board.  The Council, per its by-laws, has no “members”, other than “Resource Members” listed only for their specific expertise as needed and usually after service as a Director.
    • Most Boards of Directors bring to the table two major benefits:  1) large cash donations to the purpose of the organization’s mission and/or 2) Access to funders or other major “mover and shaker” connections (via legislative, community, agriculture) that facilitate the success of the mission. Most work is done by committees.
    •  Katherine/Lynda: Our Council Directors were vetted to represent all major food- or ag-related organizations and all sectors of the Virginia food system; they have heretofore not been asked for any financial support, though a few of them volunteered to pay expenses, fees, website, etc. out of their personal budgets for the first two years, with the bulk paid by Chris Carpenter, former Co-Chair. Don: our diversity is our greatest strength….
    • Question: can the Executive Committee perform the function of the Directors (Chiefs), and the others as members (Braves).  Connor: Yes, and can the EC recruit the funders/$.  Judy: funders/grantors will want to know very clearly where we’re going, that we’re driven by task, before funding our tasks.
    • Discussion:  Clarifying “where we are going”: per our beginnings: when as a “working group” we visited Sec. of Ag. Bloxom and staff for 3 different working meetings over many months, then ended up with their blessing/acceptance and invitation to be independent and work from the ground up (Not to go after an Executive Order for a Council), to promote local food production and whatever infrastructure and education that entailed as described in our Mission Statement which was finalized when the independent Council launched in March of ’09.  Question: Are we seen as “annoying” by state folks?   In the beginning phase we were seen as having much potential. Probably the same is true now as evidenced by:  Comm. Lohr is currently involved, Mrs. McDonnell gives out awards (recently to a farmer), plants a garden, and will glean with Mike’s group in July. Many VDACS programs are mirrors of our priorities, and VFHY (Heidi’s state organization) gives grants to like-minded groups around the state, i.e. Farm to Institution, Farmers’ Markets, etc.
    • Nevertheless, our need for sustainable operating funds requires even more clarity of our tasks outlined in the Farm to Table Plan, especially the Legal Guide, the $10/Week Campaign, the Report Card on the action plans of the Summit, the promotion of aggregation, and becoming a statewide, overarching resource…then matching those goals/tasks with funders who are in line with them. Note re: funds per Allie:  the Donate button is now on the website and donations go to PEC as our fiscal agent till our 501 ©3 status is conferred.
    • Connor’s recommendation: EC decide and clarify to all an outline of its and the Board’s role, our goals/ priorities, our organization policy: i.e., members, BOD/EC, each EC member head of a committee or ? Important not to be top down/government-based; however,
    •  there are many who know the system (gov’t level) but are no longer in office and could be helpful.
    • By-Laws are broad and don’t need to be changed.

The Campaign

  • Heidi, the Committee Chair, thanked the committee with its many conference calls, developing a slogan: Grow Virginia’s Economy!  Take the $10/Week Challenge…, the development of the Press Release from Charles’s draft and its many revisions that can still be further tweaked per different areas.
  • Info is on the website and looks good. Some recipes are up; will use cookbook Simply in Season to get ideas per what’s in season. ALSO feel free to send Fanning your favorite recipes for ongoing seasonal items.
  • Directors are asked to include the Campaign’s email “banner” for all special events and to appropriate email lists and listservs: start-ups of Farmer’s Markets in early April, various food/farm-related events or months, May is blueberry month, Sept. as Vegetable month, November as Farm to School Week, any Farm Tour events, etc. Also your local tv/radio stations and newspapers. Please send any other innovative marketing ideas to Heidi or Don.
  • Melvin’s area launched Ag Day and Ag Dinner on March 15; video available.   9000 unique emails were sent out; picked up by Washington Post.  The Campaign will be in BFBL guides,
  • All Council members, please go onto website and pledge; it will be color coded for individual or institutional, or restaurant pledges.
  • Council members need to check with their local Farmer’s Markets for putting up banners, and putting out marketing materials.
  • CHAIR DON LOOCK’S CHALLENGE TO ALL DIRECTORS: DO AT LEAST ONE EVENT OR PUBLICATION, SUCH AS THE OPENING OF THE AREA FARMER’S MARKET, AND GET TO MARIA A LIST OF WHAT MARKETING MATERIALS YOU WOULD NEED: BANNER, CARDS, ETC.  AFTERWARD REPORT TO HEIDI WHAT YOU DID.   ALSO DISTRIBUTE AT FOOD-RELATED CONFERENCES.
  • Per Christy: Note that there are a number of areas that don’t have BFBL but do have directories that list where to find local foods: Franklin, ASD, New River/Roanoke/Pulaski.
  • Contact legislators! 

Website (Maria, Allie):

  • The pledge is online, and first of all, Directors should pledge.  Need to fix having to press “Submit” twice. There will be color-coded balloons for each type of organization/business and a tallied summary giving totals of people pledged and total amounts pledged.  Clarify that visitors to the site can agree to receive an average of 2 messages/month.
  •  Need to flesh out “Eating local on a budget”, and “Eating local all year round” with links to food preservation info.
  • Discussion of Virginiafoodsystemcouncil.org   OR  Virginiafood.org ; should these be separate or combine both our Council’s site and the consumer info site.  Some were concerned about losing the identity of the Council and some were concerned about having 2 URL’s.  They are both WordPress compatible.  Can create a permalink to bring all our domains to the same site. Maria will ask Social Services if they will relinquish the domain name: Vafood.org

MOTION: THAT THE COUNCIL INTEGRATES BOTH INTO ONE WEBSITE (BY RICK; SECONDED BY KATHERINE); VOTE BY CONSENSUS (PASSED UNANIMOUSLY WITH ALL 3’S)

  • Maria and Allie will make a plan for Eric Curren and will find out if we can put $ into training so that they can learn to do updates/changes.  Exec. Comm. will consider options.

Nominating Committee Report:

  • Don reiterated our decision to recruit for both expertise and passion, and that we can maintain the sectors we began with and also allow some reasonable wiggle room.
  • Katherine: for “Anti-Hunger” Leslie Van Horn will provide an alternate or a recommendation for this sector that the EC can vet via bio information .
  • Molly: no replacement recommendation or bios for “Consumer” sector’s  Libby Oliver yet.
  • Dominic Barrett of Shalom Farms is a candidate for “Social Justice” alternate.
  • “Food Acquisition,” formerly held by Chris Carpenter: possibilities are Elena Dulys-Nussbaum from Va. Tech Dining, and possibly Michael Burton from Sustain Floyd. Bios not yet available.
  • For “Local Food Project” formerly held by Pablo Elliot, Melvin and others recommend Rachel Burns, already somewhat vetted in the Secretariat interviews. Melvin will get bios for Rachel and Dominic (above).
  • For “Sustainability,” Kathlyn’s official resignation letter to Maria opens up that seat for Dale Gardner, vetted in previous Council and EC meetings.
  • It was reported that the annual letter for Directors to recommit for another year or not was not crystal clear so Lynda will re-word for next year.  Also reported that some Directors would like various meeting places rather than the most central meeting place for all districts of Va. as well as set dates. The EC will revisit.

MOTION AND SECOND THAT BOTH RACHEL AND DALE BE APPROVED AS DIRECTORS (Melvin, Lynda/Don).  UNANIMOUS APPROVAL VOTE

  • Don reported that Spencer is stepping down from VFSC; and possibilities are Chris Cook from Va FAIRS or Tony Banks from VFB.  Molly will help to secure bios.
  • Note the “Replacing Directors Process” requires all potential candidates’ bios be considered by the Executive Committee for recommendation to the Board for vote.

Aggregation Committee Report (Molly):

  •  No report yet.  Working on a list of food hubs and aggregation. A starting place is Matt Benson’s original list of two years ago. May draw from Mike Burton of Sustain Floyd. And Christy will connect us with the Farmers’ Markets Coalition in the Blue Ridge area.

Funding (Eric):

  • Reported on his attendance at a meeting of 20 funder groups in C’ville in Nov. (Harvest Fdn, Agua Fund, C’ville Area Community Fdn. (CACF), Sustainable Ag and Food System Funders (SAFSF), etc. For some time we have dialoged with Jeff Mansour  (Harvest Fdn) and Cecily Kihn (Agua Fund; she also works with the Chesapeake Bay Fdn.) and since this meeting they have focused on creating a network of funder support of local foods, as well as emphasis on health.
  • They and Eric have reached out to two funders from the Williamsburg Community Health Fdn, Brennan Gould from CACF and Stefan Jirka from blue moon fund, all of whom like the idea of a channel to share info, experiences and opportunities …on a regular basis.  They agreed on conference calls for communication among this group, and likely will base the calls on the 8 recommendations in the VA Farm to Table Plan.
  • Another potential source for funding would be Health Conversion Funds:   When public hospitals sell and become private property, pooled resources from these provides funding for community health issues.
  •  After the $10 Campaign, what project is next?  EBT?  Council needs a group consensus on something related to health for us to present/discuss with these funders as our “next steps”.

Appalachia Food Shed Project (Eric):

  • The Appalachian Foodshed Project (AFP) is using a foodshed concept to address issues of community food security in West Virginia and the Appalachian regions of North Carolina and Virginia. AFP aims to facilitate a network of organizations and individuals working to address issues of community development, economic viability, health, nutrition, food access, social justice, and agriculture. By working collaboratively, AFP hopes to build on the human and natural resources in the region to cultivate resilient food systems and vibrant, healthy communities. Here then are possible policy or legislative  opportunities, such as Virginia Code.
  • Consider a past example: Organic Valley Family Farms offered a cooperative with preferred stock open to specific states per their farms there.  Investments of $3-5K for 3-5 years would guarantee a 6-8% annual return.  Wasn’t open to Va because of our Code.  An Equal Exchange Cooperative is a community investment CD with a guaranteed 3-4% over a 3-5 year period.   But our Va. Code will not allow.
  • Question: what does Virginia Code not allow in public investment for supporting cooperatives.  Is it way out of date and needing to be changed, and functioning as a barrier? We would first go to the House delegates over Va. Code and find out what these restrictions are for. There is a private attorney for Va FAIRS who knows Va.legal business structures.  Eric will investigate and report to the EC an understanding of our Code and any legislative or tax issues.

Legal Guide (Don):

  • Sue Ellen is tasked with the timetable and fleshing out the outline by April, based on the Guides in Vermont, NH, and Cornell; also Va. Tech just came out with a document on Farm Transition; can use theirs. Currently putting together a Steering Committee who can show their work is unbiased and who represent those (farmers) who’ll really be using it.  Any suggestions for this committee from the Council, please let Don know…possibly can use law professors with students who need a project.
  • VDACS’ review as well as reviews by other distinct agencies are critical as the Guide must be widely accepted and recognized as a go-to useful resource.  How much vagueness/wiggle room is workable (can things be read 2 ways?) how far to drill down, and the inclusion of real case studies so that even with answers like “it depends on the local inspector”, the Guide would offer a clear broad idea based on enough case studies. Let Don know any case studies you know of.  Virginia Pro Bono Law ListServ may be helpful for some questions.

Policy (Eric):

  • A Resolution has passed re food deserts in Va.   Heidi will draft a letter to the Sec. of Health and HS, and Don will send on behalf of the Council showing our endorsement and support.  The blue moon fund liked it.
  • The bill on cottage food industries was withdrawn. At issue is how to deal with barriers.

____________________________________________________________________________________________
May 18, 2012

19th VFSC Meeting Minutes

Charlottesville, Virginia  

ATTENDING
Eric Bendfeldt, VCE
Judy Berger, JABA
Lynda Fanning, VDA, Secretary
Rick Felker, Farmer, Vice Chair
Dale Gardner, Water Stewardship, Inc.
Molly Harris, Lulus Local Foods
Heidi Hertz, Obesity Prevention Coordinator
Allie Hill, Homegrown Virginia, Treasurer
Don Loock, PEC, Chair
Maria Van Dyke, VFSC Secretariat
Sarah Weeda, VSU
Andrea Early, Schools
Allie Hill, Local Food Group/Infrastructure
Dominic Barret, Alternate, Anti-Hunger

Minutes

  • Welcome, Intros and approval (after several corrections) of March 16, 2012 minutes (motion by Spencer, seconded by Judy): Don
  • Treasury Report (Allie): Currently $500, with a few outstanding receipts.  Invoices from Summit all in; renegotiated with UVA’s IEN and ended up with $2000 from that effort.  Also Spencer will finalize a $3000 commitment for this and next year for Secretariat benefits via PEC as fiscal agent for the blue moon funding. Don is working on an itemized budget and will give a financial report at next meeting.
  • $10/Week Campaign Pledges; discussion and brainstorming:
  • Take advantage of marketing the campaign via continuous reports of pledge tallies, via:
  • Farmers’ Markets,
  • Farm Bureaus’ and other member organizations’ publications,
  • Official emails
  • Press Releases for landmark amounts like $1,000,000 or $3,000,000, or use as catalysts to reach these amounts; set realistic goals and have a “thermometer” on the website that rises higher and higher.
  • Tracking and what ”research” efforts for economic impact
    • Farmers’ Market growth over the year, or expansion of the produce auction
    • Just highlight a number of case studies (farms, meat processing, Hubs, businesses and their increasing # of employees, FT and PT); these will build a narrative that is convincing to a legislator and the public
    •  Identify institutions that will track their increased purchases,
    • Council could sponsor data gathering/research; Spencer will look at other states and report back at next meeting on best process for gathering data. We will resurrect the Research/Data Committee from our first year: Spencer as chair, Eric, Judy and Molly.
    • Need a plan to use this data and determine actual outcomes
    • Dominic, Allie, and Maria volunteered to co-host an intern if we can solicit one; they are set up to mentor/direct them in the gathering of data or analysis, and they will create a list of tasks for the Council’s priorities. They will look for any Extension and/or State funding if available.  Americorps Allegheny Mtn School may also have students who would benefit from these activities.
    • For one of ongoing eblasts:  it was suggested to make and send out in a future e-blast a template of standard questions to ask when gathering data for various surveys, various settings, and also by various organizations; this would make it possible to have compatible data that can be aggregated from many sources.  Perhaps a role for the Data Committee?
      •  Note also that Andrea will do a success story eblast about the lettuce farmer in H’burg who has greatly expanded greenhouses.
  • Materials
    • Discussed buttons (“I pledged”), whether room for “Virginia Grown” logo or anyone’s logo; need to design materials so they work for all; reusable shopping bags suggested; decided we design our materials and indicate where others’ logos could fit if appropriate, whether VDACS or Whole Foods or Martin’s, etc. Molly will follow up with Leanne Dubois on the buttons.
    • Dominic offered to assist Don to take what we have and clean up the design to create space for logos, recommend a company; if all orgs. use same company, get a better deal. Looking at Blue Ridge Graphics, Muddy Feet, and Sprint Signs.  We will send out the chosen connection to event-givers. (Done)
    • Capitalize on events, like Bon Appetite in Richmond June 3 and the Heritage Festival in C’ville in mid-Sept.  BFBL in Tidewater has 10 events and 4 markets per year.  Have Universities join to do $10/seek benefits.  Our job: make design, standard sizes available. Their follow-up: let us know what they did. Heidi’s Campaign Committee will identify 4 events in areas where we need pledges.
    • On our website, list orgs. that are our “Friends/Supporters,”  like CBE (Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore) or the 80 different County Farm Bureaus; get all these orgs to pledge and to use our template for their newsletter, their events, their buy-in to work toward our next pledge level. There are 107 Extension Unit web pages…their home page could send you to the Council’s pledge page.  Eric volunteered to see if this could be done.
    • Ask all entities with listserv presence and multiple emails (i.e., Horse and Buggy CSA) to provide Campaign info.
    • List institutions that commit/pledge to the Campaign, like hospitals and other healthcare.
    • Work on legislators and on celebrities like Robert Duvall, John Grisham, and Sissy Spacek.
    • Heidi will check on getting our connection with Sec. Hazel, and with Sec. of Ed. Fornash and our own Catherine for the schools signing on.
    • Make a mock up template press release for Mayors, for any state Secretary (Ed., Ag, etc.)
    • Promote the Campaign with our materials used at numerous “National Food Day” events, October 24 for example.
    • Focus on South Side Virginia, where there are no pledges to speak of.
    • Council can work through tourism to get pledges; need to make a business card size for pledges, with button.
    • If we have sign-up pledge sheets at events they will need to be input into the website; event –givers should not have to do that work for us.  Sara volunteered to do this input.

The Website: Maria and Allie

We have the choice to have two sites or one that leads to the other.  The question is which is the home or main one: Virginia Food System Council?  Or VirginiaFood.Org as a resource site?  After a discussion the vote was 6 to 4 to keep the Council’s web site as the primary one.

Priorities:

  • Education:
    • Molly has a program going for the high schools, partnering with Chipotle and including school fundraising: includes food and a food-related documentary. The students choose their charity.  Molly will write up this model to be used in other towns/venues.
    • How can we reach unreachable people (those who don’t go to farmers’ markets or events or schools, etc.) and to SNAP participants re: double vouchers. Have a video playing in government or other public locations? Funders want to collaborate across lines of health, environment, stewardship, access (food deserts), etc.
    • Harrisonburg has come out with a menu for the $10/Week campaign
    • Be a catalyst: nurture ideas for around the state to be available in other parts of the state (Rick); connect  people working on similar projects in all parts of the state.  Take transferable efforts and spread them; be like the spider who makes the web.

MOTION: Rick, seconded by Judy; vote all yes’s, to set up a committee to work on the cases where we tell how a success story happened, measure goals, then use the story to  present to funders. Rick will chair; Judy will brainstorm.

Branding: our emails need a professional face, and a branding imageSpencer recommends we research a year-long contract for such an email format, for non-profits.

Strategic Plan:  Exec. Comm. To look at Plan again and discuss on June 22.

Respectfully submitted: Lynda Fanning, Secretary

_________________________________________________________________________________________

October 5, 2012

Thomas Jefferson District Health Dept

Minutes

  • Welcome, Intros and approval of May 18, 2012 minutes  (Don)
  • Finances Report (Allie): Currently bank balance is $215.62, with need to re-up domain names soon; salary for Secretariat and website expense still come out of the blue moon fund, which will likely extend 6 months or more beyond its current two year period to about one year from now: Oct of 2013.  We have a major need to seek out grant funding and a focused group/committee to identify what’s out there via Grants.gov and many organizations (USDA, EPA Ag., Winrock, SARE, etc.). Then this group would:
  • Rule out any conflict of interest (example: requests for Specialty Crop Block grants, Charles would recuse)
  • Develop to have on hand what a funder would want to know, using the blue moon fund grant application, such as executive summary, background, needs identified, steps to take, budget, key people, timeline, stages, logic model, and strategic plan.
  • VFB’s Foundation can review and edit; Charles would review for likelihood
  • All Directors are asked to send grant ideas to Maria  by Oct.15 for her to make a data base; Judy will send a roster of private grants. Directors still need to do this.
  • Then Council must decide what projects, what to work on, to request specific funds. VDACS Grants?  GAP Training, Honeybee Projects, Farm to Table, etc.
  • Finances cont’d:Discussed relationship with PEC managing our blue moon funds and our HR/insurance for our employee. This makes it difficult to establish our own fiscal history based solely on our bank account. It helps that we are officially a 501©3 and can get cheap software for such needs as we move toward autonomy.
    • Rick will look at the language of the original blue moon fund, though its last check is already sent to PEC.  Still the VFSC can show funds going in and out of PEC per activity via the profit and loss report to show our fiscal history rather than bank statement type records. (An example is Smart Growth Alliance which gets grants regardless of where the funds are held and moved.)
    • We will continue for now to use PEC to manage our funds but need to explain on the budget how the funds are held by PEC for our purposes and mission.
    • Allie will manage the $215 but will get the Profit and Loss sheet (Don will send the latest) so she knows about PEC’s side of the picture.  She will do google.docs spreadsheet and make available to all; Rick will oversee from an accountant perspective and will receive a report to present at each BOD meeting for each BOD meeting.
    • MOTION by Don, seconded by Judy, with unanimous vote to accept the above financial report and the plan to continue to work with PEC for these purposes though with clearer reporting and shared records of the funds held for VFSC.
    • Strategic Plan (Lynda):  Reviewed the further revised version of the 2011-1013 Strategic Plan and made some adjustments; Directors voted to accept and approve this version as a working basis for our funding applications. It shows items accomplished since 2011 and specific objectives and actions that drive our mission. It will be sent out when adjustments have been finalized.
    • Food Day Oct. 24, 2012
      • An online focus on promoting Virginia’s $10 a Week Campaign as well as the national EatingRules.com pledge to avoid processed food for one month. Promoting these campaigns on social media of all kinds and college/univ. students who are also in the Real Food Challenge Campaign…all similar messages and movements.
      • $10/Week Campaign
        • VFSC is sharing a table with BFBL (Jessica Palmer) at the State Fair
        • Directors are encouraged to build into all events a strong drive to recruit  pledgers; for example, upcoming food documentaries at the Virginia Film Festival on  Nov.1 : a sign-up table and announcements.
        • We have HTML language to put the jpeg of the sticker so all our org’s could feature on their own websites
        • Our Website : fall local foods and recipes for them. Maria put out a Thanksgiving meal recipe plan. A Christmas version is in the works.
        • Use this Campaign to present to Funders; for example, this campaign could be  promoted at all Universities throughout the state: determine the cost for such a project and seek funders. Maria developed a draft proposal plan which will be sent to each council member by December 10.
        • Materials: rolls of stickers and cards were made available for attending Directors.
        • 585 have pledged: $428,000
        • Need to collect stories to promote the $10 Campaign:  example is Shenandoah County Forum and its 10 week challenge.   Put these stories on our website with photos.  Christy : VAULT (Va. United Land Trust) has a newsletter. Maria is working on this with Christy.
        • Use website to get and give feedback to pledges (ask what market do you use, give tips for procuring, list things they can do to spread the word and AN ANNUAL PRIZE drawing from VDACS , committed by Charles. Maria has included this in newsletters and on the website
        • Data Committee (Spencer) discussed:
          • meeting with Stefan at blue moon fund re the report card and its data
          •  Possible speaker at a VFSC/VFB meeting with–Gary Matteson, an expert on data gathering who can speak to this topic since this data is not easy to get (value of local versus non-local, amount of local sold retail, Farmers Market data, Farm to School, etc.  (Vermont And NH are trying to create a template to do this.) We could invite local and policy leaders to his talk at our next board meeting (half-day, interactive) to recognize need for local food data as well as efforts to support young farmers/ranchers (as older farmers are retiring)
          • Legislators want data; the county ag. folks recognize that ag can be an economic development tool, so maybe we need to look at getting funding for data gathering as a project; Stefan seemed receptive.
          • Review Anthony Flaccavento’s message (click on image) >> suggesting following farmer’s markets and other related businesses to see impact down the line.
          • Eric’s idea: that instead of eliciting just hard data, we chronicle success stories and couch the data within the stories: for example Harrisonburg Farmers’ Mkt in 2008 at $250K and now at 1.65 million, or Andrea’s Farm to school going from 9K to 100 K ,or numbers of high tunnels, etc.
          • Data Committee to come back next time and focus on adding stories.
          • MOTION to APPROVE NEW DIRECTOR Janet Aardema to represent VABF. (Molly, Nominating Comm. Chair, seconded by Judy with unanimous YES vote) Tremendous gratitude and appreciation was expressed for all Katherine Smith’s contribution in this role since the beginning.
          • Virginia Farm to Table Conference, Dec. 5-6, 2012 at Blue Ridge Community College, reported by Eric: a rich two days of that built on our F to T as well as a Regional Shenandoah grant project.  Conference information is available at,www.conference.virginiafarmtotable.org
          • Legal Guide to Farming in Virginia: Don reports that he is less involved due to work allocation, but primary leadership is by Sue Ellen Johnson. Specific report to be later but our blue moon funds for this project may be extended to as far out as next Oct.
          • Education Presentation by Lisa and Molly:  Molly has partnered with Lisa Dearden on a pilot program called Food Flicks for three Richmond high schools, partnering with Chipotle for food served and including school fundraising: includes a food-related movie/documentary such as “Fresh” along with burritos and discussion. The students choose a charity which benefits from the collected small entry fee.
          • The Directors were asked by Lisa of her for-profit ChiknEGG Productions whether we would want to fund the rest of the 7 Richmond public high schools clearly meshing with our goals of educating Virginians of all ages re healthy, sustainably-raised local foods. This brings us once again, however, to our lack of funding and need to seek out grants, as the general consensus was that this is an effective and well-run program.  Once funding has been achieved, we will look again at this proposal.
          • AARP Conference reported by Maria which values the VFSC and what we can do to support their mission to work with the aging community, especially procuring local food for senior adults,  school children,  and emergency food funding.  They specifically requested Eric serve on their committee.  Need to stay in conversation with them, as one member may get these issues on the legislative agenda. We can introduce this organization to resources; also Judy will send them publications.
          • Charles will call the patron/sponsor re any prospective bill.
          • Respectfully submitted: Lynda Fanning, Secretary