FFN Business Meeting GTRLC September 17, 2014

Network Council Meeting  Minutes

September 17, 2014   10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

  1. Welcome and Introductions (10:10 AM)
  • Welcome, update: Bill welcomes group and explains that Heather Ratliff will be helping to initiate meetings, which Bill will facilitate.
  • Present: Laura Spencer – GTCD MAEAP, Jessica Rasch – GTCD MAEAP, Tricia Phelps – Market Manager at Sarah Hardy Market, Rod and Ann Robinson – EatonBeGoode.com, Sarah Eichberger – Chronic Disease Prevention Mgr for MSU Extension, Kris Thomas – Benzie County Food Security, Susan Coccerelli – NWMCOG, Rob Sirrine – MSU Educator Food Systems Educator, Brian Bourdages – Farmland Program Mgr at GTRLC, Heather Ratliff – CCF, Diane Connors – Healthy Food for All – MLUI, Mark Coe – Goodwill Farm to Freezer, Bill Palladino – MLUI Taste the Local Difference
  1. Grants Reporting

New Grants Received

  • ISLAND – 2014/2015 USDA Grant – one use will be a more focused financing education group. Educational support for the Consortium of Farmers. Also educational support for farmers to learn how to move from leasing their farm to owning their land.
  • NMSMC – Received a specialty crop block grant to hold a preconference Get Farming Keep Farming Grant Received to continue educational programming

New Grant Opportunities/ Opportunity to Collaborate

  • GTRLC and Core group: Lake Michigan Fruit Belt Conservation Partnership – Conservation Resource Alliance, GT Band, Leelanau Conservancy, GTRLC, GTCD, LTC, – Conservation Partnership in the Farm Bill. Collective of the best practice programs, easement programs, stewardship programs, etc. The Farm Bill combine these funds and were made available regionally. The full $20million will match easements, prioritize watershed improvement, in-stream habitat improvement, on farm mgmt improvements etc. 5 year program, request
  • Goodwill: LFPP – Local food promotion program – Funds requested for larger freezer, distribution vehicle, and a second blast freezer for Farm to Freezer
  • GTRLC working on a grant to improve honey bee habitat improvement
  • MLUI and Fair Food Network – working on grant that would take Double Up Food Bucks, and move it into a retail market. Michigan Made and Michigan Grown project headed up by Oran Hesterman
  • ISLAND Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Grant pending. To provide access to land, farmer residency and mentor ship program, Landlink to work with the conservancy’s, etc. A part time position for the food and farming network has been written into that grant, to do the administrative work for the network.
  1. Project Team Reports

We are trying to generate some level of engagement in going after the objectives of our network mission. We are really trying to focus task forces on our specific goals.

20% by 2020 Goal – Bill

  • Team to answer the questions
  • What are we currently doing to tackle this goal
  • What are the measurement techniques
  • Anne, Trisha, Bill will form 20% x 2020 task force

Institutional Goal – Diane –

  • Health and Youth Network group is working on several projects, the institutional goal being one of them. The Health and Youth Network is currently focused on a special event on 10/11 – Food Farms and Health
  • Food Farms and Health Event – Please register. This event will feature some hospitals that are successfully procuring local products, using fruit and veg prescriptions, learning gardens, etc. The event will also draw awareness to 10 cents per meal and food education. We will discuss sustainable funding, and integration of food education in curriculums. Munson has been a great partner in this project.
  • In terms of reporting the institutional procurement, with 10 cents a meal, the schools involved are required to report their procurement. TCAPS reported roughly $70K in local spending last school year.
  • Foodcorps is also doing a lot of work both getting kids interested in eating fruits and vegetables, and really marketing healthy food to kids.
  • Diane and Sarah will take on this task force in coordination with our Food Equity topic.

Agribusiness Generation Goal – Rob

  • The Foodshed Alliance is the group developed to strengthen local food system development.
  • The Food Innovation Hub will be located in 1610 N Barlow, with about 8-10 stalls for food producers: Raw Juice Production, Hop Processing, Cheese Making, Specialty Foods Distribution, Hummus, Tofu, Ag Service Lab doing work for the wine/hop/cider industry.
  • The group has measurement tools by way of the 2020 Fund’s Financing Tools, as well as the business development which will be easy to track as new tenants build businesses.
  • The Food Innovation Hub does not encompass the mission of the Foodshed Alliance, it is an example of what can happen within this region, with more ambitions goals to follow.
  • Request by Bill for the group to measure and record the productivity of this project as a task force of the network.
  • Rob, Susan, Mark will take on Agribusiness Generation task force.

Food Equity Goal – Sarah

  • The goal is more of a vision than a goal. Smaller more measurable goals within that vision would make this task force more manageable.
  • Chris – Rotary’s in the 5 county region (Antrim, Benzie, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska) are in the 1st phase of a study trying to get a better understanding of the food security in the area and provide support to food providers in the region. They are currently interviewing pantries and meal providers in the region and will report back in December. Modeled after Washtenaw Counties Food Security Plan.   The group is already coming up with some really interesting and relevant barriers to food security already in their young project
  • Center for Regional Food Systems would be a really great resource for that group
  • This group will be a subset of the Institutional group for now.

Farmland and Resources Goal – Brian

  • Great potential for some really exciting grants, and really big work to be done
  • Acme purchase and development rights, mileage is up for renewal. There is a great citizens group gathered
  • Larry Dyer will be helping with the Farmer Residency Program, applications are coming in for the coming season. Spread the Word! Recruitment for the farmer residency program is underway!
  • The Conservancy has decided to reserve some land in the M22 corridor to remain available for farmland use as community interest builds in small farming to ensure that land is available.
  • Farm Transition and Farm Succession Planning. 3 Day Event, November, Hort Center – Geared towards succession planning for any type of family.
  • MAEAP – Laura Spencer in focused on GT and Benzie County, Jessica is focused on Leelanau. Brewery Terra Firma is now MAEAP verified. The ambition is to have MAEAP be a household name, that people know if they support a MAEAP verified farmer they are supporting a sustainable farmer who cares about their watershed, land, and the future. The annual report “fact sheet” that depicts the sediment reduction, phosphorus runoff, etc. This report will be shared. This region leads the state in verifications. Soil testing is a major part of the program, There is no specification regarding organic vs. synthetic, however nutrients are nutrients wherever they come from, and that soil building is a major part of the program. Michigan farmers have not historically pillaged the land in the same way
  • Rod, Jessica, Brian will form Farmland Resources Task Force.

Measurement – Bill

  • Each group has a subset of measurable accomplishments since the start of the network
  • To start the measurement process, a report of what we are already doing, and has already been done will really show how much has happened in this region.
  • A suggestion was also presented to create an annual Food and Farming Network report based upon task force accomplishments. Timing might serve well if report were put together by March Summit.
  • Trisha, Ann, Heather, Bill will form Measurement Task Force

Summit – Heather

  • Summit will move again as Small Farm Conference has a big event on the Friday night. Likely move to March.
  • Jim, Ann, Trisha, Bill, Rob (maybe Jim Sluyter) will form Summit Task Force

Other Task Force related Discussion

  • Suggestion for a Gardening Team. Could be part of Equity group.
  • Report Request – Have any community food security assessment been conducted?  Suggested to look into Doug Krieger’s study and the work Patty Cantrell did. Also look into Kids Count. Bill will sends links to Tricia and to Kris on these reports. Food Bank Council, and the Center for Regional Food Systems as other sources.
  • Rotary Report – Kris suggests timing for their Food Security report coming out in December 2014.
  1. Scheduling
  • Regroup on Timing for the next meetings. (third Wednesday)
  • Proposed Schedule (follow school year?)
    • September – Business (this meeting)
    • October – Education / Group Collaboration (Farm Bureau chairs)
    • November – Business
    • December – Education / Group Collaboration (Kris Thomas – Food Security)
    • January – Business (Small Farms Conference, Recruitment Meeting)

Other Events

  • Small Farm Conference Pre Conference event – Friday, January 24 Winona LaDuke
  • Michigan Small Farms Conference – January 25 at GT Resort
  1. Other Business / Relevant Updates
  • Announce next meeting and topic
    • Date/Time: October 15, 2014 – 10am
    • Farm Bureau presidents to present
    • Location: TBD expecting a larger turn out.
  • Upcoming Speaker/Topic: Regional Food Security Report – Kris Thomas moved to December Meeting
  1. Adjourn (11:55 AM)

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