Steering Committee Conference Call Notes (8/15)

1. Roll Call/Check ins (15 minutes)

Attendance: Leah, Ron, Jensen, Ben F, Laura, Kat, Diana, Portia, Melanie, Ben P, Erin, Karen

  • Laura: MM grew $330 to $2000 @ Pico Mkt, will get some assistance from HALA, lines for hours to pick up vouchers; stone fruit ended early due to drought.
  • Ron: MM very successful, over $500 first day. Concerns about AB 1871. Tractor show coming up.
  • Jensen: drought relief coalition formed; serious concerns within Hmong community in the area, MM going well
  • Leah: MM going great, WIC FMNP distribution at mkt doing really well; feasibility study complete for mobile FM in Marin, working on a covered market space, huge public support
  • Diana: inundated with MM, went from 1 to 3 staff distributing, working with HALA, Sunday markets have no help from WIC staff with MM, documentary film about the drought being produced
  • Portia: MM up 20%, 18% increase in CalFresh, markets doing well; drought having negative impact on producers and devastating effects on local rivers/fish, loss of hog processing facility
  • Kat: moving largest market to a new neighborhood, various challenges
  • Melanie: deliveries with Insta-Cart from FM to home
  • Ben P: MM delayed, but CF usage still up
  • Erin: FM postage stamps are beautiful; working with transportation authority to increase access to FMs with adding bus stops and promoting MM and CalFresh

2. Decision Making Process Update (6 Minutes)

  • Ben spoke with most everyone, seems as though the main concern is when we vote on policy recommendations
  • Recommends that we use the modified consensus process. A vote can pass with support from everyone but 2 voting members. A vote cannot pass with opposition from more than 2 voting members.
  • This gives us an opportunity to fully discuss each voting item, and ensure that we all understand the topic on hand before voting
  • Try this method and revisit in about 6 months to access whether this process is working for us; at that time we will enter it into our governance documents as our official decision-making process. Questions/Comments?
  • Laura: appreciated the opportunity to talk one-on-one with Ben, understand that we would resolve any issues with opposition prior to a vote, and if only 2 still want to prevent the group from voting after a lengthy discussion, how do we deal with that? Hopefully we will be able to reach consensus.
  • Ben F: principals behind MC is about getting to a place where we are in agreement before we call a vote; if we call a vote and people still disagree, then we haven’t done our job fully or given the topic enough consideration; realistically, the times when we cannot come to a consensus, it will probably be a case when an outside group is asking for our opinion, and opinion is spit and then perhaps we just cannot come to a consensus; even if we cannot come to a consensus, we can still move forward with a letter endorsing just the parts of the policy/topic we do agree on, and acknowledge the parts we do not have consensus on and explain why opinion is split.
  • Laura: We do have to try to know if it will work; agree to open dialogue and see where it goes
  • Leah: its really a positive indication of the group’s future success that we try for consensus; this is what we are formed to do, to try and build a working organization that will help bring FM together across the state.
  • Ben F: Is every body comfortable moving forward with MC? This is not a vote, please share whether or not you are comfortable
  • All agree yes
  • Karen has joined us
  • Jensen: Fine with the decision as long as we don’t spend the majority of the time continuing the same dialogue over and over
  • Diana: Ben F should have individual phone calls with everyone, and some were missed
  • Ben F: apologies for not being able to reach out to everyone prior to this discussion, will ensure in the future that all are included. Thank you everyone, please give it a concerted commitment to this process, don’t let the 6 month timeline prevent you from committing to it, please let me know if problems do arise with this process. This is an indication of our ability to use the MC process that we were able to use it here now!

3. FINI Update (8 minutes)

  • Anyone not familiar with this program? Yes
  • Farm Bill 2014 included $100 M over 5 years for healthy foods incentive programs, like MM, providing additional funds for people using CF to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables; its not exclusive to FMs, but is focused on fresh direct producer to consumer; first RFP for funding will be released at end of this month; AB 2385 was to establish a fund to help CA access these FINI funds, did not pass; EC plans to submit a grant application to FINI on behalf of the CMMC, admin, etc. Requires a 50% match, so need to identify matching funds; anyone applying on their own, please share your plans so that we can coordinate rather than compete.
  • PCFMA may apply on behalf of Fresh Approach separate from the CMMC
  • Does the Alliance want to support CA applications? Yes, support all applications from CA
  • No specific allocation to states
  • Can we designate someone to be the point person to handle requests for LOS
  • Any concern about the Alliance writing LOS?
  • Laura: No

4. Membership Update (5 Minutes)

  • Ben F: Doing well, have 171 CFMs represented as members of the Alliance, continuing to grow! Many SC members have reached out and made those connections

5. Fall Retreat Update (4 minutes)

  • November 9th-10th
  • Location as yet undecided, will be in Northern CA, wider Bay Area region- Calistoga, Santa Cruz, North Bay, Occidental; Leah Headlands Institute, Green Gulch
  • Agenda being developed, start later Sunday to allow for travel
Items for Discussion

6. CA Small Farm Conference Proposals (15 minutes).

Possible ideas include:

  • EBT/WIC-Current rules and exciting new opportunities- Carle Brinkman will submit a proposal on this topic
  • Legislative Update (wine sales, 1871, etc)- Steve Patton willing to present on this topic; ROC would present on the newly developing MM bill
  • Accounting/HR for Market Managers
  • Workshop for farmers on how to get into and succeed at farmers’ markets
  • Will follow Up with everyone over email to continue discussion