Annual Meeting of Friends of Boulder Knoll: October 23, 2008

Annual Meeting of Friends of Boulder Knoll
October 23, 2008

Kim Stoner, President
Jill Casertano, Secretary
Jonathan Parizier
Marlene McKenzie
Ron Gagliardi
Bob Giddings
Fellis Jordan
Deb Rapoport
Jeff Rapoport
Carol Goertz
Karen Prendergast
Tim McConnell, Kol Ami
Jill Casertano, Secretary
Greg Melville
Marg Bykowski

1. Review of Yearly Events/Accomplishments

  • Lease signed with the town of Cheshire for use of two acres of land on Boulder Knoll Farm.
  • We have planted some cold weather vegetables, planted some perennials, and begun growth of cover crops to improve the quality of the soil.
  • 10 bushels (more or less) have been grown and harvested.
  • An outdoor educational program was implemented, called Learn Today, Grow Tomorrow. The event was attended by approx. 15 people, despite weather confusion.  This event required all sorts of volunteers, collaboration, etc. Teenagers from the Cheshire High School Environmental Club came and worked registration, weeding, planted, etc.  UCONN Master Gardeners were also available with an information booth.
  • We have had a lot of positive public attention and press coverage. Both local and regional news have reported on our efforts, and both the local garden clubs and the league of women’s voters, as well as others have reached out to express support/interest. We also participated at the fall festival .  ( Mary Rosi of Rotary Club has also asked us to speak at an upcoming meeting.) Bob participated in the Town Energy Forum, on behalf of FBK. We are developing a rep of being a knowledgeable organization worth following and collaborating and supporting.
  • Financial Report: $25.00 filing fee for secretary of state,  $95. for Fall festival. Income- $301 from last treasurers report. Current balance: $310.08, CFNH $216.00. Total $526.08.  Cost due in 2007-2008: Insurance cost for this year:  $476.00, $237. 00 for compost , $137.15 for lime, $34.45 to US treasury (late fee). $36.00 for 6 months P.O. box. $25.00 for secretary of state; $250.00 to be a corporation to US Treasury. For tax exempt status as a farm we need to provide evidence of  $2500.00 of expenses and income, or average of $2500 per year for 2 years; need to demonstrate intent to farm for at least 2 years.

2. Holistic Goals and Planning:

  • Kim provided a copy of a document created as a result of March 2008 review of current mission, purpose and goal.  Time allotted for people to review the document.
  • Transition occurred this year, as we moved from planning and talking about doing things to actually doing things. However, we have lots of ideas of things we would like to do, and a rather small active membership to accomplish these goals. We need to prioritize and carve manageable steps. So, what are the next steps that we need to take now to accomplish our goals.
  • Group brainstormed the following priorities (list does not reflect agreed upon priorities, simply a brainstorming session):
    • Renegotiate our lease: discuss length, water, shelter, fence, part time farmer, CSA
    • Extend our membership base for more participants
    • We need funds to become a sustainable organization
    • Create a guide of farm and agricultural resources available in town of Cheshire, create a data base for availability of resources to have it on our website. – While a valuable goal, this may be outside of the range of feasibility for this year, and not a present priority.
    • Build up connections with local farmers and agriculture resources.
    • Resolution of potable water situation (Kim noted that there was supposed to be drilling of a well in the capital budget- we need to explore what the specifics of this are)- We need to talk to the town about possibility applying for a farm viability grant now that agriculture is happening- explore drilling a well.
    • The barn: what is our position on the barn, what is the town’s plan? We have in the past encouraged the town to explore options ( tear down, salvage, rebuild) – But we do not have an official position: Discussion followed regarding the value of the barn- should be tear it town ( some agree) should it be saved ( some view the barn as a point to be rallied around within the town).
  • Discussion continued about the feasibility of working toward the barn restoration and the farming- Do we have the resources (financial and human) to do both? Perhaps not. Shall we go back to a long to plan or focus on a short term plan? Shall we look at 10 years and work toward accomplishing what our original vision included or should we focus on two acres we currently have and what we can feasibly accomplish on those acres? Do we need to remember the rest of the land? The rest of the vision? Do we look for land elsewhere to pursue our vision?
  • The conversation appeared to end with the following: We need to go directly the town, and see if they are planning to dig a well, and if not, can we get a donated well dug at the far.  If they say no, are we are done at that point? Group agreed that without a commitment to provide water from the town, we are unable to sustainably grow food.
  • Decided that we would ask the town about their position on the Barn, ask about progress, but not make the barn our top priority.
  • Search for a farmer and determine funds needed to hire the farmer. Find the farmer, find the funds.
  • Clarification of Issues with Town:
    • Water
    • Flora/Fauna
    • Study of Barn
  • What is our role educationally? Do we continue to advocate for the land? Is this something within our current ability? Do we remain the Friends of Boulder Knoll if we only focus on growing food and stop advocating for the land, or do we lose part of our mission? Group agreed that education continues to be a priority. How this will be implemented will be determined by conversations with the Town and the decisions about feasibility in the year ahead.

Friends of Boulder Knoll voted and approved the above listed goals for the year.

3. Election of Board Members:
All current board members have offered to stay as board members; Jeff would like to resign as Treasurer. Jonathan Parizer has asked to be on the board, as has Greg Melville.  Tim McConnell was also asked to be on the board, and he accepted. Carol offered to take on the responsibilities of treasurer.

Board Members:
Kim        Bob        Jill        Jeff        Greg
Ron        Jonathan    Fellis        Carol        Tim

Next Meeting: Thursday, November 20 at home of Greg Melville
Next  Work Date on the Farm:  November 2, 2008 details will follow.

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