Sunday, January 17, 2010

Minutes fo January 13th, 2010

Meeting was held at Ron and Sheila’s house.

Members attending: Bob Vosburgh, Derek Takerer, Fireweed, Mike Nestor,

Sheila Nopper, Veronica Timmons,

Ron Sakolsky and Charlie Johnston (Co-facilitators),

deNeen Baldwin (notetaker)


1) Cooperative Management:

Field Issues: Potato Seed Order, Field Management 2010

2) Committee Reports

Communications, Budget, Financial

3) Basis of Unity

4) Next Meeting

What to include:

- Basis of Unity and Consensus;

- information and discussion about growing potatoes without the

use of animals or animal byproducts in the field, as well as the

issue of fossil fuels

Field Issues:

Potato Seed Order-

The amount of seed potatoes required depends on how much area of the field we intend to cultivate this year. Based on selling whatever we don’t use, Veronica ordered

150 pounds; in order to keep our books straight, it was proposed that the SPUDS cheque to Across the Creek Organics pay only for the potato co-op’s needs, rather than mixing in other purchasers. Both Fireweed and Veronica have been researching the type of seed potatoes available and Seglinde seems the only organic ones we can get at a reasonable cost which are not scab prone. So the group decided 150 pounds is the appropriate SPUDS order.

Field Management 2010-

Charlie, Derek and Mike met to discuss strategy on field use and Mike reported on their

findings. It was suggested that we adopt a 4 year Crop Rotation Plan by dividing the field into four quarters. The upper right quadrant, No. 1 (closest to the barn) would be planted in 2010, the upper left quadrant, No. 2 (closest to the driveway) would be planted in 2011. The lower right quadrant, No. 3 would be planted in 2012, and the lower left, No. 3 (closest to the gate) would be planted in 2013.

Each section is roughly 30 feet by 85 feet. It was determined that one section could offer the same amount of planting as we had last year by tightening up the rows.

The right side of the field is usually very wet in the spring. Discussion ensued on

the idea of creating a ditch to divert water and what that would entail. Using the upper

right quarter would work providing the wet is not overwhelming. The group agreed we would use a 4 year crop rotation plan.

Three proposals were put forward for the 2010 growing season

(the maps made available to the membership on the email attachments do not translate to the blog)

The group thanked the committee for its work on the field plans.

Committee Reports:


Mike listed the items for budget considerations which will determine what is possible this year:

1. Cover crop

2. Seed potatoes

3. Hay bales for mulching

4. Water – free fills?

5. Rototilling costs

6. Valve for cistern

7. Option B will cost more in cover crops and digging or rototilling

8. Winter Peas and innoculant

9. Irrigation piping status

It was agreed we needed a working group to research costs and bring the information back to the group. Bob Vosburgh volunteered for this task, with Charlie checking on #6.


Applications for the Grant In Aid program from the Regional District need to be in

in late February. Veronica will ask Herb to see if he will do it.


Fireweed reported that deNeen, Sheila and Rae met informally to discuss the flow of information for the co-op, and the following was shared:

Notes of thanks for various contributions over the last year have been sent by Rae and Fireweed. Appreciations were noted.

deNeen proposed that Note taking for the meetings circulate to others in the group with an appointed backup from the communications committee to help and ensure it gets completed within a week to ten days. The group agreed.

Sheila will put together a binder of all SPUDS documents to be kept in the library as the free post is being overloaded. Veronica to pass on previous hard copies for this record.

Fireweed will provide additional info and photos also permanently archived on the blogspot.

deNeen and Rae will call existing members who have not paid their 2010 membership fees to determine if they would like to continue to be part of the co-op and also if they want to receive emailed information.

Basis of Unity:

It was proposed that at this meeting the group would tweak the draft statements, post the results through the blog and at the free post, and if there was no dissent, the Basis of Unity would be adopted at the next meeting. Charlie clarified that in the Consensus

method of decision making, when important decisions such as this are adopted at a meeting, it is adopted in principle but finally (formally?) adopted at the next meeting.

The group has adopted, in principle, the Basis of Unity. See the accompanying insert at the bottom of this post.

Next Meeting:

The Basis of Unity, including using the Consensus decision making process will be brought forward for ratification by the membership. For a refresher on consensus, visit the following- also accessible here on the SPUDS blogspot in the Links column (short excerpt in italics below)

What is consensus?

Consensus is a decision-making process that works creatively to include all persons making the decision. Instead of simply voting for an item, and having the majority of the group getting their way, the group is committed to finding solutions that everyone can live with. This ensures that everyone's opinions, ideas and reservations are taken into account. But consensus is more than just a compromise. It is a process that can result in surprising and creative solutions - often better than the original suggestions.

Proponents of non-fossil fuel use and animal free agriculture are asked to make a 10 to 15 minute presentation to inform members about their concerns. No decision on these matters will be made at this meeting.

The next meeting is proposed for Sunday, February 7th at 1 p.m. in the Back Hall. This may be subject to change, with January 24th as a back-up date. Co-facilitators are not yet in place.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Next Meeting, Wed. Jan. 13, 2009

Just to confirm, there is no meeting date change for our next gathering. It will take place at the home of Ron and Sheila at 4062 A Wren Road, with Ron and Charlie co-facilitating.

Here are at least a couple of topics that will be on the agenda for sure:

Seglinde potato seed has been ordered, but your input is needed in regards to other seed potato options given limitations under discussion.

The development of field management plans for 2010 and beyond has begun. Mike, Charlie and Derek will be sharing several proposals they have put together for the membership's consideration.

Also, we will look at the Basis of Unity as it has evolved to date.

Everyone's input is valuable, so the cooperative can function as inclusively as possible with timely decision making. We've come a long way practising the consensus process model, building our basis of unity. Suggestions on how best to incorporate input from members unable to attend meetings they would like to as we move ahead into the next growing season are welcome.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


for Friday, December 11, 2009

Tonite’s meeting also doubled as a seasonal SPUDS celebration complete with tasty treats and refreshments. Thanks to Bob and Carol for hosting!

In attendance: Veronica Timmons, Herb Jones, Barb Heywood-Jones, Fireweed, Mike Nestor, Ron Dobie, Maxine Matilpi, Charlie Johnston, Bob and Carol Vosburgh, DeNeen Baldwin, Ron Sakolsky, Sheila Nopper, Derek Taneker

Minute Takers: DeNeen Baldwin and Fireweed

Facilitator: Ron Dobie


1. Bookkeeping (update from Mike)

2. New Business
- (a) potato ordering (Veronica)
- (b) grant information (Fireweed)


3. Basis of Unity – the Soil

4. Test for Consensus around Consensus Process Decision-Making

5. Next meeting details


1. Bookkeeping

Mike Nestor has replaced Corinne as a signatory for SPUDS bank account. Veronica and Brian Miles were the other two signatories according to bank records. Mike clarified that he is willing to assist with bookkeeping for SPUDS, but would like a team approach as he doesn’t have time to help with fundraising/grant applications, etc.

Mike received some of SPUDS receipts from Corinne, but we’re still missing 14 bank statements. Please see second email attachment if you are receiving these notes that way (or hard copy for those not on computer)for detailed report by Mike also advocating clear protocol on how expenses are authorized and greater transparency for SPUDS financial matters.

In short for the blogspot:

Bank Balance: $642.64
Owing: $239.47 (cover cropseed expense reimbursement)
$402.67 (expected balance after above payment)

11 members have paid their membership fees for 2010 so far. We had 22 paid memberships in 2009, up from 18 in 2008.

Cheques can now be written directly to SPUDS (OR Cascadia Food Security Project).
Fireweed proposed that Veronica receive reimbursement for her personal purchase of cover crop seed for fall planting, and that SPUDS adopt the policy of vetting future purchases through the group prior to expenditure. Consensus Noted.

It was also recognized by the members that advance budget planning is important.

2. New Business
(a) Potatoe Ordering: Veronica reported that the opportunity to order seed potato again through the same bulk purchase of certified organic seed we got in on last year, if we do it ASAP. Last season we purchased 150 pounds@ $157.50. Discussion determined that 2/3rd of what was ordered last year will likely be more than enough for the area suitable for planting in Spring 2010. Last year’s low Yukon Gold yield was noted. White Rose, Seglinde or Kennebec were suggested as preferred choices for the next planting. Interest in purple potatoes was raised, but Derek explained that it was in the best interests of soil health to avoid planting either red or purple skinned potatoes, given their propensity for scab and the evidence of some scab already in last year’s harvest. Veronica was mandated to go ahead and make the order since there would not be time for a group meeting for further discussion if we don’t want to miss the deadline for the shared order direct from Across the Creek Organics in Pemberton.

UPDATE: Since this meeting, Veronica discovered that only the Seglinde we want is available from this particular source, and is placing an order for 50 pounds of this one variety, leaving us the option of finding another type elsewhere if possible and the group wants more variety.

(b) Grant Availability: Fireweed reported news of a grant from the Investment Agiculture Foundation of BC for “development of sustainable agri-food sector”, with a Dec. 31st deadline for applicants. Veronica volunteered to research the grant, see if we would qualify if it looks useful, and make an application. It was suggested that if Veronica were to go ahead and fill out an application that anyone interested provide feedback before submission. Veronica agreed to make her findings known by Dec. 18th and Fireweed agreed to post relevant details on the blog if a grant application were to go foreward.

UPDATE: Veronica’s research determined that the grant in question was not applicable to SPUDS interests so no further action has been taken.

Discussion around the potential use of grant monies, brought up discussion about the need for a different type of attachment on the water tank, as requested by the Fire Department for greater ease of refill. Charlie Johnston volunteered to find out what the actual cost of this item will be and to report this to Veronica by the 20th, in case we want to reference the need for this item in any grant application.

It was noted that if sustainability is an important focus for SPUDS, then perhaps applying for grants contradicts this notion. Other thoughts suggested that taking selective advantage of appropriate financial assistance may help us reach that goal sooner than later. Members agreed that grant applications generally require good record keeping and budget outlines. With assistance from Derek, Mike and Charlie will come up with budget outlines for the group’s consideration at our next meeting in order to move ahead with planning for 2010 and beyond. Veronica’s timeline/task sheet will be helpful in developing some potential scenarios weighing both labour and financial resources.


Given that the original plan was to focus only on our Basis of Unity at this last meeting of 2009, it was agreed that tackling new business BEFORE our party was a great idea!

3. Basis of Unity: The Soil

Group work on this section concluded with Sheila Nopper volunteering to tighten up the wording further and forward to Fireweed for posting in the minutes here and on the blog.
Here it is:

SOIL (draft 3 – Dec 14/09)

Members will care for the soil by not using pesticides, toxins or any harmful substances on or in the soil [with consideration to COABC standards].
The soil will be amended, weeded, planted, and the crop harvested at the appropriate times on a continuing basis so as to improve the health, fertility, and tilth of the soil.
Any further needs or issues for the soil will be discussed and determined by the members.

Sheila has also provided a link to the COABC standards on line for general reference.

4. Charlie proposed that testing for consensus on the consensus process be deferred to the next meeting with more members hopefully in attendance. Fireweed asked if we wanted to do an informal temperature check on the topic with those present through a simple show of hands. This informal test showed unanimous support for the consensus model.

5. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 13th, 7:00 pm. Susan Marie’s house was suggested as a possibility, with Ron and Sheila’s as backup.

UPDATE: the location is not confirmed as of January 4th, but should be shortly.
Charlie and Ron Sakolsky will co-facilitate.

OLD BUSINESS: Fireweed made a last minute proposal that some extra potatoes currently stored by Bob Vosburgh go to Mary Lang, as a small gesture of our appreciation for her introduction last fall to the consensus decision making model. Those present were in favour, and the potatoes have since been delivered and appreciated!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Meeting January 13, 2010

Happy New Year everyone! Our inaugral SPUDS meeting of the New Year is scheduled for Wednesday evening, January 13th. Stay tuned for location details, etc.