Notes from the 4th strategic farm planning meeting

Cornercopia Meeting: April 4, 2012
   Continue revising Guiding Principles
   Next Steps
       goals/objectives (long-term/short-term)
       defining criteria (for needs met; goals; success, etc)

We started the meeting with introductions and then brainstormed ideas about how the students and student group could participate and be defined in terms of the farm management and operations. The following is what the students came up with:
Transparency regarding decision-making
            --hold forums
                 *connect students w/program
            --outreach to students and other groups
Participate in overall design?
            --monthly meetings
            --inventory (e.g. transplants)
Defined role for student organization
Interest in management skills
Implement student ideas (if they are good…agreement, perhaps by consensus)
Event—seasonal…to attract new membership to the student group (more members = more $)

One student suggested that we discuss the current roles of each student group (interns—do research and have a farm-based role, service learners—role is project based, class participants do seeding and student organization—topic of today’s discussion) to see what current roles are and what is missing. The discussion focused mainly on how to get students more engaged in the farm, i.e. the major missing component was student input.
Courtney suggested ideas on when/how students could expand their participation:
                        Jan.: meet and discuss crop list and analysis
                        Feb.: discuss annual budget
                        Mar.: certification paperwork
                        Apr.: farm layout
                        May: summer plan
                        Sept.: Fall plan
                        Nov.: season review

We came back to the student organization role at the end of the meeting and the group came up with two ideas to help define the student organization role:
·        Organize events
·        Participate in planning sessions/meetings as a means to incorporate student voice

The rest of the meeting was a revision process for the remaining guiding principle. The original Management Principle 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.”

One person suggested starting from scratch. Another suggested reframing from a focus on governance to a focus on principles, e.g. cooperative, collegial, openness, transparency, respectful, honest, etc. The main elements that needed to be incorporated were education, student input/involvement and the above listed principles. The focus moved from who manages to how the farm is managed.

The revised Management Principle reads as:
The student organic farm will be managed cooperatively and collegially to optimize student learning and involvement. Farm staff, faculty and students will engage in a transparent, inclusive and respectful process for making farm management decisions.

We concluded with a decision that the next meeting will be a farm planning meeting as a step to immediately start implementing the guiding principles as well as to address the immediate needs of the farm. The meeting is set for this Friday, April 13th, 10-11 a.m. in Hayes Hall, room 408.

We will continue with the strategic business planning sessions for the farm the following week.

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