Notes from the 3rd strategic planning meeting


Cornercopia Meeting: March 28th, 2012

Tentative Agenda:
Mission revisions
Guiding Principles revisions
(Vision, action, roles?
            Goals
            Objectives
                        Resources
                        Barriers
            Strategy
            Action
                        Next steps
                        Roles
                        Timeline)

First off, thank you to those who gave their input on the Google Form. Your participation was helpful and your concerns and suggestions were taken into consideration at the meeting. There were two main issues discussed regarding the proposed mission statement: 1) the student managed element of the farm, and 2) rephrasing a sentence so the mission didn’t imply we provided food for the students.
The students, faculty and staff discussed how a student-managed farm would be the ideal mission but that the pragmatics of managing a farm daily, seasonally and year-to-year make it an impractical responsibility to impose on a student body that changes semester to semester and year to year. Students, staff and faculty in the group expressed a concern about the lack of consistent student commitment in the context of handling the persistent demands of farm management. The emphasis of the farm’s mission regarding management therefore remains as a learning opportunity that invites students to engage in all aspects of running an organic farm. The students have an opportunity to experience farm management and operations under the guidance of MISA staff and university faculty. The new mission statement reads as follows:
Cornercopia is an organic farm that provides students hands-on whole farm learning opportunities, food for the local community and a place for community building, multi-disciplinary education, research and outreach.
We moved on to the Guiding Principles, beginning with the Education and Outreach Principle.
The original read as: “The student farm utilizes and teaches sustainable organic farming practices to students, faculty, and community members. It will serve as a gathering place for interdisciplinary learning communities and a resource for extension in sustainable organic agriculture.
The following changes reflect a group discussion about distinguishing education from outreach as a means to emphasize the importance of the farm as an educational resource. Therefore, the guiding principle was separated into two:
Education Principle
The student farm strives to be central to the academic mission of CFANS as a resource for teaching and demonstrating organic farming practices for students, faculty and community members.
Outreach Principle
The student farm will serve as a gathering place for diverse interdisciplinary learning communities as well as a source for community outreach.

Science Philosophy and Research Principles had minor revisions. The original read as:
“The student farm will encourage students to implement, monitor, and evaluate innovative and sustainable organic farming practices.”

The revised reads as:

The student farm will host student and faculty projects that implement, monitor, and evaluate innovative and sustainable organic farming practices.

The Crops and Farm Management Principles had minor revisions and clarifications. The original read as:
“The student farm through its operation will grow, harvest, and market a diversity of crops using sustainable organic practices that utilize local resources, reflect natural ecosystems and improve the quality of the farmland.”

The revised reads as:
The student farm will grow, harvest and market a diversity of crops using sustainable certified organic practices that utilize local resources, provide ecosystem services and improve the quality of the farmland.

The Management Principles was saved for last. The original read as:
“The student farm will be cooperatively planned and managed by a core group of students in collaboration with MISA, University faculty and other organizations.”

Several discussion points were raised such as phrasing so as to emphasize the type of management, i.e., how the farm is managed (not necessarily who manages it) and that discussion delved into the logistics of managing a farm and what/who influences how the farm is managed. The group wrapped up with a brainstorming session surrounding key elements of management principles and *governance structure. The following is the brainstorming list the group came up with:
Student organization
Farm staff
Faculty
Students
    Service learning
    Interns
                Class participants, etc.
            MISA
            Students operate the farm
                Planting
                Record keeping
            Farm manager
            Agriculture Experimental Station
            College Administration

We will finish revising the last guiding principle at the next meeting. We also hope to meet with the student organization leaders to discuss and assign roles in coordination with creating an action plan.

The next Cornercopia meeting is scheduled for Wed. April 4, 2012 from 2:30-4:00 p.m. at Hayes Hall, room 408. Please join us!

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