April 4, 2020 Member Meeting Notes

Elbert County Agricultural Alliance

Membership Meeting

Google Hangout


April 4, 2020


Tonya Roche called the meeting to order at 2:13 p.m.  Attendees included: Diane Cribley, Heather Marley, Sheila Zuschek, Tonya Roche, Robert Hammervold, Rae Gerold-Smith, Neal Bringer, Beth Haymond, Kristy Hayes and Francesca Hayes.


Tonya Roche opened the meeting by advising the members that due to the COVID-19 pandemic all Elbert County Agricultural Alliance meetings will be held remotely to comply with local orders and CDC standards. In lieu of member meetings, the board of directors will send out monthly updates and conduct short remote meetings using formats such as Facebook Live, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. for those who are interested in participating. 


Tonya introduced herself as the new chairperson effective April 1, 2020. She also introduced the newly elected board of directors members:

  • Vice Chair – Robert Hammervold
  • Treasurer – Beth Haymond
  • Secretary – Sheila Zuschek
  • Member at large – Kristy Hayes

Stay at Home Fair:

Tonya asked members to check out the Facebook page, where the team has put together a virtual Homestead Fair to help members get the word out about their businesses.  Members can buy, sell, and advertise their farms and services from there. The thread has been shared to other pages outside of ECAA, so people in the community can see it. 

Homestead Education Center

Tonya announced that Elizabeth Park and Recreation closed on the property that will be used for the building of the HEC, and Diane Cribly has begun working with Andy Hough on the Food Forest planning. Diane and Bob Hammervold have a meeting with Mike Barney of EPR on Monday, April 6th..


Tonya announced that the agritourism workshop has been tentatively rescheduled from April 18 to June 27.

Diane is working on a monthly learning webinar schedule for Collaborative Agritourism Development Team (CADT). Topics in the works include:



Homestead Fair

Tonya reported that there are 28 registered vendors plus another dozen or so interested. Activities include:

  • Ax-throwing 
  • Jam session area 
  • Speakers
  • Mule wagon rides
  • Kids’ area
  • Rick Vaught performing
  • Approved and still in work:
  • Tractor show
  • Showcase for area music
  • Dance teacher (and students) performance

ECAA needs volunteers for its booth. Tonya assured everyone who volunteered that Kim Babcock and Beth Haymond still need them for the committee, but there may be a delay in organizing the committee due to the shelter in place order..  Sponsorships are in the works pending review by Bret Wade and the board of directors. 


Thank You


Tonya thanked Diane for all of the hard work she has done and continues to put into building the ECAA. Tonya assured everyone that Diane would still be very much involved in the organization working on the Homestead Education Center, acting as a liaison to Elizabeth Park and Recreation, working on grants for the organization, and continuing as the CRAFT Point-of-Contact/Mentor

Tonya stressed that all of the activities require volunteers to work with Diane.  It’s a great way to get involved and start contributing to the activities of the organization, and have a mentor to work with. She encouraged members to contact Diane if they would like to help out on any of these projects, particularly with the fundraising committee. 

Amazon Smile

Tonya reminded everyone that if they use Amazon they can use the https://smile.amazon.com link to designate the ECAA as a non-profit beneficiary. Then using that link going forward, ECAA will receive donations from Amazon.

Question to Members 

Tonya encouraged members to let her know what suggestions they have to improvements to the ECAA. She asked what would you like us to look into and to focus on? Where do you see us going? How can we attract more members and participation? She encouraged members to contact her via email at tonya.roche@elbertcountyagalliance.org.

Other Business

Neal Bringe informed the members that the seed exchange the previous week had gone very well and was enjoyable for everyone who attended.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.

For the Board of Directors


Sheila M. Zuschek



To view the slide presentation, click here.