Creston Valley Food Action Coalition Annual General Meeting
Dec. 6, 2010
Budget: Members of the Creston Valley Food Action Coalition and their board have made great strides during the past year. After starting with a budget deficit at the close of 2009, we now have a healthy budget surplus in all accounts, excepting the Harvest Share Account for which we anticipate further committed grant income of $1470 from CBT once they approve the submitted project report.
The FAC business account income reflects member dues, as well as income from fund-raising calendar sales, a project spear-headed by Secretary Valerie Comer. Expenses were principally booth fees for educational/promotional events in the valley: the Home and Garden Show and Fall Fair, purchase of a large banner displayed at every market and educational event, book keeper fees, as well as settling accounts with Revenue Canada, and up-front calendar printing costs.
Thanks to the careful preparatory planning by the Farmers’ Market Committee, chaired by Len Parkin, and the considerable skills and dedication of market manager Jen Comer, the Farmers’ Market has also generated a healthy budget balance. Thanks are also due to our first bookkeeper Jean Hoover, ably succeeded by Denise Jaeger for helping to keep us in the black.
On January 18 of this year, member Donna Carlyle led us in a visioning exercise to help set the FAC’s course for the year ahead and into the future. Many good ideas were put forward. Donna’s report to the board focused on a few key themes that had general support. I am pleased to report success in the following areas:
1. Mount a successful Farmers’ Market
2. Revise and print the FarmFresh Guide (completed, with ongoing updates, thanks to efforts by Pat Huet and Gail Southall, with support from Ann Day and the Creston Public Library’s outreach commitment.) These are now available at the Farmers’ Market, the Chamber of Commerce information centre, and in Welcome Wagon packets.
3. Continue HarvestShare
4. Develop and keep up a website. Valerie Comer single-handedly created an informative and eye-catching website, with frequent updates.
5. Improve local awareness of area producers, local diets. Much of this work has been undertaken by Jen Comer and Gail Southall via the Advance, as well as Jen Comer’s regular Friday morning spot on our Creston radio station (CIDO).
In addition to having an informational booth at the Creston Valley Home and Garden Show and Fall Fair, the CVFAC participated in the Blossom Festival parade and chili cook-off, the Wynndel Rutabaga Festival, and COTR community greenhouse-sponsored seed-saver and winter harvest workshops. Thanks to Jen Comer, the CVFAC has also shared a regular table at the entrance to the weekly Farmers’ Market.
Some of these activities were undertaken with joint participation from the Greenheart Herbal Society, Community Greenhouse, and local producers, notably Cherry Brook Farms.
6. Liaison with other food action groups. This process occurs informally, as many of our members are also members of the Greenheart Herbal Society, Kootenay Local Agricultural Society, Community Greenhouse programs, and Creston Garden Club. More connections at the regional level will probably occur in 2011, due to initiatives now underway from food activists and our MLA in Nelson.
7. Other areas might be described as works in progress or ultimately impractical at the present time. The January 18 group envisioned a poster campaign, new committees, event planners, and grant writers to undertake important activities, but volunteerism seems to have peaked at its current level.
The idea of paid staff with a central office is desirable, but getting to that point was also beyond the finances, time, and energy level of the membership and board to support this year, apart from the paid work of the Market Manager and HarvestShare Coordinator.
As yet, we have no formal representation on relevant local and regional government and NG0 councils. However, other initiatives proposed by some of our members are taking place in other venues: for example, the COTR includes a community kitchen in its master plan; and one of our members has a private grain-milling business that serves purchasers of grain CSA shares.
None of this work could have been accomplished without the dedication and countless hours of time volunteered by our members, and especially by our current board of directors. Thanks are especially due to 2010 board members Valerie Comer, Pat Huet, Caroline Martin, and Jessica Piccinin.
The success of a local diet initiative ultimately depends upon our Creston Valley producers, so we truly acknowledge our farmers, market gardeners and vendors. Thank you for bringing food to our tables!
Outgoing President, Jeanne Kay Guelke