Elbert County Agricultural Alliance
March 1, 2020
Diane Cribley called the meeting to order at 2:10 p.m. Attendees introduced themselves and their interest in ECAA. Attendees included: Diane Cribley, Alan Holman, Sheila Zuschek, Tonya Roche, Robert Hammervold, Kim Babcock, Audine Zuschek, Rae Gerold-Smith, Thomas Eisendrath, Janie Eisendrath, Tom Cribley, Jim Keen, Roann Keen, Brooke Decker and Christian Ray.
Diane Cribley opened the meeting by thanking Wendy Walp for her valuable service on the board of directors. Wendy has stepped down from the board due to other commitments.
Diane announced that elections for new officers would be taking place this month. Tonya Roche the current vice chairperson will be succeeding to the position as chair per the bylaws. A new vice chairperson/chair elect will be elected this month. Diane asked members to let Tonya Roche know if they are interested in serving on the board of directors. Members should look for an email containing the link to the online ballot. She asked that everyone vote even if there is only one person running for a position, as it is at the very least a show of support for the work the board members do during the year.
The organization has been having difficulty with emails not being responded to. Oftentimes this is due to emails being forwarded to the spam folder. She asked that members check their spam folder and default settings. She also informed members that phone numbers would now be requested on sign-up lists.
Diane asked if there was any interest in health and wellness as part of the educational offerings. Members made suggestions for educational sessions or a health blog including:
Mindful movement for gardeners
Options for healthy eating presented in a non-judgmental manner
Information on county health services including mental health
Homestead Education Center
Diane informed the members that Elizabeth Parks and Recreation has made an offer that has been accepted on 91 acres of land adjacent to Casey Jones Park. After EPR closes on the property the ECAA would be able to enter into a memorandum of understanding with EPR a designated number of acres for the center. ECAA will seek grants, sponsors, donors and partnerships to fund projects. She encouraged members to network in the community to raise awareness, solicit donations and sponsorships and explore partnerships.
Diane also informed the members that she has been asked to sit on a master planning committee for EPR.
After discussion, Diane agreed to look into the legal qualifications surrounding in-kind contributions. Brett Wade has been talking with IREA about sponsoring the power infrastructure to the new EPR property. Members are also interested in adding solar power. Alan Holman agreed to explore water purification systems for well water rather than using city water on the site.
Diane solicited suggestions for what the HEC might include. Members suggested:
An event space with a stage for farm-to-table dinners, classes, weddings, events, etc.
A workshop for trades
A commercial kitchen for cooking classes, social functions, etc.
A children’s space
A garden center
Gift shop/farmer’s market
A food forest with nitrogen fixing plants and trees
Diane passed around a sign up list for people interested in helping to organize educational programming or teach classes at the Casey Jones Pavilion through EPR. She suggested that ECAA have an education coordinator instead of an education committee.
Kim Babcock reported that there are 29 booths sold for the Homestead Fair so far. She would like to add more growers and producers. She is interested in adding more activities this year including mule drawn wagon rides, a jam session, and 30 minute classes in the pavilion. Rick Vaught has already signed up to play music. Forty Mile Feed will sponsor the children’s area with gunny sack races and a hay maze, etc. A petting zoo is also signed-up
She wishes to organize the fair into villages, such as a fiber arts area, a growers area, etc.
Members were also interested in having a homestead stories area that might include presentations from generational homesteaders and a bulletin board for people’s homestead memories.
Diane announced that the ECAA will have a booth at the Elbert County Fair and will need volunteers for the booth. She reported that she and Tonya were able to recruit new members by walking around to other booths at the county fair last year.
The next meeting of the membership will be at the American Legion at 2:00 p.m. April 4th. This will be our Annual Meeting where the new Board will be introduced.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 3:15 p.m.
For the Board of Directors
Sheila M. Zuschek