Wednesday, February 17, 2010

MINUTES for Feb. 7th, 2010

Meeting was held in the Back Hall.

Members attending: Bob Vosburgh, Derek Takerer, Fireweed, Mike Nestor, Sheila Nopper, Veronica Timmons, Max Matilpi, Rae Eckel,Karl Goodwin, Bob Parsons, Ron Sakolsky, Barb Heywood-Jones,Herb Jones, Ron Dobie and Charlie Johnston (Co-facilitators), deNeen Baldwin (note taker)


1. Final discussion on details of the Basis of Unity including Consensus Decision

2. Field Management: Seed Potatoes, Drainage Question

3. Finances: 2010 Cost Estimates, Bank Account, Membership, Grant-in-Aid

4. Member Presentations:
(i) Fireweed, advocating for animal byproduct-free growing in the SPUDS patch, and
(ii) Barb, on non-fossil fuel gardening

5. Next Meeting

1. Basis of Unity

At the January meeting, the Basis of Unity was adopted in principle. After some discussion and minor changes, we are happy to report that the Basis of Unity, including using the consensus method of decision making, was adopted by the co-operative.

This culminates several months of discussion and effort. Although we have been using consensus at our meetings for some time, it is good to establish common ground and it is essential to our continued progress. See the additional attachment for details.

2. Field Management:

Seed potatoes for this year’s planting were picked up by Max near Victoria and are being stored at Bob Parsons for the moment. If mice prove to be an issue, we may
have to make alternate arrangements. Concern was expressed at the lack of diversity in planting only one variety of potato; while realizing that for this year research showed this to be the best option, the group hopes for more diversity in future.

The issue of ditching to deal with the wet side of the field was discussed. Timing is key as the excessive water is only a problem in early spring; planting later in that area might resolve the issue, or other methods of planting. It was agreed to not dig ditches for the moment as the situation needs more research.

3. Finances:

Bob Vosburgh presented the following research on 2010 Cost Estimates:

Cover crop- clover $13/kilo 12 k/acre $160
Hay Mulch $5 per bale
Valve for Cistern $40
Wnter peas 22 k bag $80
Innocolant $6.00 kilo bag
Fall Rye 55 lb bag $31.99 2 bags per acres $64
Rye-pea blend $51.95 per bag $104
Seed potatoes 150 lb- $290 $290
Plow and rototilling

Mike reported:
the Old Balance (in our checking account as of December 31, 2009) as: $ 352.67
Outstanding bills as: $ 280.50 (for 2010 potatoes)/ and $ 40.00 (room rental for the Feb. 7th meeting)
an Outstanding Deposit of: $ 25.00 (family membership received)
providing a New Balance of: $ 57.17

NOTE: Not reported at the meeting, but requested by Mike as an addition to his financial report in the Minutes is the following:

Missing Bank Statements-- SPUDS is still missing the first 14 statements (from January, 2008 – February, 2009) for its bank account. Replacement copies can be obtained at the cost of $35.00 to (at $ 2.50 per statement.) Given current finances, Mike is not recommending this action be taken now, but reporting that these documents would be useful in helping clean up our accounting from 2008 and 2009.

Rae reported on the member survey she conducted by phone in order to determine which past members would be rejoining us this year, which indicated that we need to increase our 2010 membership to cover our costs. Our current membership, as of Feb. 7th, is 11 (10 family; 1 individual) Last year total membership was 20.

The Communications Committee will put together an article for the Grapevine and Flagstone to invite new members and update the community on our adopted Basis of Unity. The group agreed it would be great to have younger members with strong backs.

The price of membership was revisited to make it more accessible. We agreed to introduce a sliding scale, recommending Individual memberships be $15 and Family/Group memberships pay $25. It is important to convey that if someone is interested, not to let lack of money be a barrier to joining.

Grant In Aid:
After discussing pros and cons of receiving money from the Regional District, the group authorized Charlie Johnston, Herb Jones and Mike Nestor to meet and fill out the application (and to use their names as nominal President/VP/Treasurer for purposes of this grant, due in late February). A copy of the document will be kept on file for future reference.

It was suggested that relying on grants was not in keeping with our sustainability tenet and that, at some point, the Co-operative needs to stand on its own without possibility of compromise. It was also suggested that because we’re “not there yet”, that the leverage of financial assistance in the short term could have long range benefits.Agreed that overall funding is a larger discussion for another time.

4. Presentations:

The speakers were afforded 10-15 minutes each, with discussion to follow.

Fireweed provided several reasons for SPUDS consideration concerning her proposal (Sept. 09) that the Co-operative eschew the use of manure (and other animal products) in the field.

She included environmental and ethical issues, highlighting inherent advantages in maintaining SPUDS as a stock-free growing opportunity and educational model, from both a local and global perspective.

Fireweed is happy to make a transcript of her presentation available to anyone interested who was unable to attend.

Barb spoke about sustainability, farming versus gardening, and the damage rototilling does to the soil.

When we discussed the Basis of Unity, Barb proposed using the term “gardening” rather than “farming” as she feels that the connotation of “farming” is that it legitimizes machinery used by the few for food for many. The membership present agreed to replace “farming” with “growing” where applicable, in the Basis of Unity.

Barb read an article which explained how rototilling works well initially but releases too many nutrients the first year which are leached over subsequent years; then the soil turns to dust. In the end, she says, rototilling is not sustainable.

In the discussion which ensued, concern was expressed about how those of us in our 50’s and 60’s and beyond, may or may not be physically able and/or willing to grow potatoes using hand tools only. The question of whether or not we would want to consider non-human animals as beasts of burden if fossil fuels are no more was also raised. Fireweed stated that her original proposal would be amended to included “animals”, as well as “animal manure and byproducts”, for clarification.

Both member presentations were intended for information and discussion at this meeting only, and so no decisions were made.

5. Next Meeting

Rae researched meeting places and the upshot is that the School Library is best for a standard 2 hour weeknight meeting at $5 per hour and the Conservancy room at the Old School would be best for a weekend meeting at $15 for a morning, afternoon or evening. These are venues suitable for those members with chemical sensitivities.

The next meeting will be held on Sunday, February 21st, at 7 pm at the Old School.