January Meeting Minutes.

January 20, 2010

Present: Bethel Erickson (UGC), Vernon Clark (UGC), Ashley Williams (POP Coalition – Cottage Garden), Mary Lou Trice (Hewitt Community), Naomi Scrivener (Hewitt Community), Karin White (WHRI), Trey Crumpton (Columbus Ave), Katherine Moncrief (WHRI), Alina Harbourne (VISTA – MCC), Jonathan Bruce (WHRI)

Location: Mayborn Museum. 6pm.

Items Discussed:

Introductions. And Garden Updates.

Financial Report – $632.44 (the UGC has increased its financial holdings through private donations around Christmas and money collected from the Foxfire Friday and Beyond the Backyard workshops).

BUSINESS:

MLK Day Debrief

  • Food: Lunch by Baylor Campus Kitchens. Hewitt Community Garden had no complaints – and no leftovers. However, others felt that the food was not satisfying for hard-working volunteers (ie college boys). Trey felt there was still a lot of waste – although boxes were recycled and orange peels composted (at Columbus Ave and Hewitt). Suggested improvements for next year: soup or a hot meal; garden sponsorship by local restaurants donating/providing food at one site; beverages also provided (juice, coffee) perhaps through Capitol Area Food Bank or donated by Starbucks, Common Grounds, Shipleys.
  • Reflection Activity: Coordinated by CIS AmeriCorps. Comments from all sites indicating that volunteers need more structure. Good discussion still happened, but leaders were “awkward and unprepared.” Vernon raved about Linda Lewis’ discussion at Rapoport; as did Naomi about her AC volunteer at the Hewitt Community Garden. Suggestion: give discussion facilitators a basic script to follow.
  • Art Activity: Coordinated by Community Health Corps – health and wellness journals. Many of the sites said that their volunteers left before completing the activity or arrived at the site unprepared to lead the art activity. At the Hewitt Community Garden, volunteers came expressly for doing an art project and were disappointed by the journals, so Naomi found some materials at HFUMC . Cookbooks were haphazardly left at sites without any instruction – even though many of the garden site leaders felt that constructive art projects could have been based around the art in the cookbook. Suggestions: growing bird house gourds in the spring and painting them for MLK Day, painting garden murals, constructing and painting garden benches.
  • Gardening Activities: Most sites decided not to plant as the soil was too wet – but that didn’t stop the sites from leading worm composting demonstrations and repotting seedlings (Hewitt), clearing the area for the garden beds (Cottage), pruning perennials (WHRI school gardens) – and some gardens were able to plant potatoes, onions, collards, cabbage, broccoli and more.
  • Other Suggestions/Comments: Not many volunteers registered online or had difficulty registering with the website. Serve254.com suggested as registration site for next year. Brazos Middle had a school dance troupe perform – which brought extra volunteers. Naomi said the worm composting demonstration was a big hit.

Board Elections

  • at the February meeting (2/18). Positions will be open for Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and 4 at-large positions. Charles Conkin will be President, and current President Vernon Clark will become an at-large member – as stated by the UGC By-laws.
  • If you would like to help coordinate and plan projects for the UGC, please consider nominating yourself or someone you know for a one year term.
  • Other current Board members include: Grace Ladd (secretary/treasurer), Ray Small, Trey Crumpton, Philip Price, Rick Allen, Kelly Baker. All are up for re-election and may serve 3 consecutive terms.

Other Announcements:

  • Farmers Market Permit Ordinance Hearing before City Council in February (15th?) Bethel will send out more information as the date draws nearer so that UGC members can show up in support of a Farmers Market in Waco.
  • Beyond the Backyard Workshops: Rainwater Harvesting (February 26), and Garden Bed Prep (March). Please refer to the Beyond the Backyard page on the UGC website for more details – as well as to register.
  • Foxfire Friday Workshops: Root Beer Brewing (January 28) and Quick Cheese and Yogurt (February 18). Please refer to the Foxfire Friday page on the UGC website for more details.
  • The first meeting of the Waco Herb Club will be on February 5 at 10am at the Cameron Park Ranch House. You can find more information on WHC on Facebook.
  • Bethel also mentioned working on the Youth Farm Training Program – which involves training youth in agriculture and business, working on an urban training farm in East Waco (hopefully on the grounds of GL Wiley) and selling at a market on-site, at corner stores and in church parking lots. Also collaborating with a couple of local farmers interested in expanding into organic vegetable production. Addressing food deserts through agricultural training and development of neighborhood farm stands.

The Urban Gardening Coalition will meet next on Thursday, February 17 at 6pm at the Mayborn Museum.

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