Minutes - March 10, 2012

Posted by Heifer Sonoma/Napa On Wednesday, March 21, 2012 0 comments
Facilitator: Evie Trevethan
Recorder: Marolyn Roberts
Present: Betty M, Janeen B, Emilia G, Nancy E, Linda D-Y, Kathy M, Jacquie E, Jessie McD, Carole and Keni K,Ann S, Carol L, Stefanie L, Evie T, Marolyn R.

Check-In: Janeen reported reading about an up-coming Mennonite event which will include Heifer Sea-going Cowboys. Jacquie announced she has the movie “Happy” and invites us to a showing and pot luck at her house, at a date to be determined. Carol L reported that her church, Unitarian Universalist, will be discussing ethical eating this Sunday and all are welcome.

Treasurers’ Report: No changes were made this month.

Volunteer Hours: Carole gave a brief description on the method the Master Gardeners use to track their volunteer hours. Marolyn explained she needed to withdraw from the committee. Jacquie reported she would try to develop a format for us to use by early April. Evie suggested that we have Jill review the format before beginning to use it. Evie encouraged someone in our group to volunteer to become our “historian”, to collect and organize our clippings, photos, etc.

Spring into Action Event: Kathy and Linda McBee visited the Cornerstone venue. Kathy reported that the site is beautiful and the staff is welcoming. Our event, on March 24, will be held in their barn. It has ample room and they will provide tables and 40 chairs. Volunteers are asked to arrive around 8:30 AM to help with set up.

Napa High School Club: The group’s Faculty Advisor, Stephanie, reported on the club’s activities. They have held drumming circles and distributed information about Heifer. They are involving classes in making bracelets which they intend to sell to raise awareness and funds for Heifer. Perhaps there will be bracelets to sell at the March 24 event.

Barn Dance: Carol is collecting donations of cloth napkins and pie tins to use at the May 25 event at Greenstring Farm. Evie asked for a volunteer to be the Napa co-chair for the event with Linda McB. The task list was circulated for members to review and use to sign up for tasks to support the barn dance.

The second chapter of Hunger for Change was discussed. The discussion was led by Nancy.
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Coordinator Hat

Posted by Heifer Sonoma/Napa On Wednesday, March 21, 2012 0 comments
On March 1st, Eliza passed the Northern California "coordinator hat" to wonderful & talented Jill Kilty Newburn. Jill has worked for Heifer's Education department for over five years, most recently as the Learning Center Director at our partnership farm, Hidden Villa, where her office is located.

As we seek to be more strategic & efficient, Eliza will focus in on the greater Seattle area & Jill on the San Francisco Bay Area.
Hooray for California having a coordinator in the state!
Northern CA volunteers, please send inquiries, questions, reporting & donations to Jill at:
Hidden Villa
26870 Moody Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
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Volunteer...... Pass it On!

Posted by Heifer Sonoma/Napa On Friday, March 16, 2012 0 comments
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Coalition seeks to promote local food system sustainability

Posted by Heifer Sonoma/Napa On Friday, March 09, 2012 0 comments

By Linda Burchette
Assistant Editor Jefferson Post

Local people growing and selling their own food products, improving the environment and helping low-income residents eat better are the goals of Seeds of Change Appalachia Coalition.

An organizational meeting in January led to a follow-up meeting in February at Family Central in Jefferson to bring all the various aspects of this initiative together.

Led by Lauri Wilson, program director for Seeds of Change, and Jeffrey Scott with Heifer USA, the meeting last month resulted in a vision for the project and ideas from the group to make it happen.

Seeds of Change has collected about 100 participants so far, said Wilson, and they come from Ashe, Watauga, Wilkes and Alleghany counties in North Carolina and Johnson County in Tennessee. The first meeting organized the coalition and included discussion on the meaning of the project, she said, and the second meeting was designed to build on that and note key dates for the coalition to reach certain goals.

By June 15 of this year, the coalition needs to have a governance framework outlining the plan for finalization of the governance rules reviewed by someone knowledgeable about board governance building, and then submitted, Wilson said. The governance rules must be approved, and a comprehensive project proposal framework should be completed by Aug. 31.

The meetings are about sowing the seeds of change.

“As the High Country of Appalachia transitions toward a self-reliant future, food plays a significant role in shaping our regional economy,” it was written on the Seeds of Change meeting agenda.

“The costs of purchasing produced and processed food from other states or countries is a major concern of communities across the U.S. while, conversely, local food development can act as an economic driver for entrepreneurship and local job creation. Communities across the U.S. are building coalitions of diverse stakeholders who see the benefit of turning food supply chains into local food chains, thus creating a multitude of opportunities for residents and businesses. Just as the economic benefits of a local food system are manifold, so are the public health benefits of eating fresh, locally produced foods from your own region. The opportunities for connecting economic development and public health are considerable in creating new economies of health and wealth for all,” read the agenda.

Heifer USA is matching funds the coalition can raise, Wilson said, adding that Heifer USA expects the coalition to come together in a solid organization with leadership and goals, and the framework must be in place by June 15.

A matching goal of $250,000 is not difficult, Wilson said, “but we must have a plan in place. Long term sustainability over many years needs to be developed.”

Leslie Schaller with the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks provided an overview on solution-based assessments, showcasing models that communities across the nation are developing in order to implement proactive economic development strategies and innovative public policies.

She described a value chain in this process as adding value to a supply chain. “Finding your place in the value chain is key,” she said. “You must share values or it just remains a supply chain.”

“Farmers markets are often the first step to a value chain in a community that nurtures the entrepreneurs,” she said. “Direct sales are often the first step to small business.”

Other parts of the value chain, Schaller said, include community gardens, edible schoolyard projects and food processors.

“There are opportunities and challenges in Appalachia, and this will not happen overnight,” said Scott. It will take a while to build regional food systems tied into health, public education, and non-profits, he said.

Scott said Heifer USA expects to spend about $1.5 million in the High Country over the next four years working toward these goals.

“I know it’s going to take a long time, so we want to set the table for a long term relationship with the community,” Scott said. “Heifer USA is a piece of the bigger picture taking place in the area. It is a springboard to build a stronger coalition, much bigger than just Heifer USA. We want to see the forest before we get caught up in the trees.”

“The local food movement emerging in the country will happen even without Heifer USA,” Scott said.

The goals are to generate food income possibilities, improve the environment and nutrition, he said. To do that, the coalition must first organize and establish a leadership structure for moving forward.

That is exactly what the coalition’s meetings are all about, and Wilson encouraged those attending the February meeting to voice their opinions and commit to long term involvement.

“Heifer USA has provided the seed, but the coalition will take the seed and make it grow,” she said.

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International Women's Day

Posted by Heifer Sonoma/Napa On Thursday, March 08, 2012 0 comments
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Napa volunteers meeting - 3/10/2012

Posted by Heifer Sonoma/Napa On Thursday, March 08, 2012 0 comments
Napa volunteers for Heifer International will meet Saturday, March 10 at 9:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 625 Randolph Street, in downtown Napa.

Plans will be finalized for the March 24 "Spring Into Action" event at Cornerstone, 23570 Arnold Dr./Hwy 121 in Sonoma (known for the big blue chair & the flying fence). The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon as part of a national Heifer multi-city summit.  The Cornerstone event is the only event in Northern California. 

The group is also planning for a May barn dance at Greenstring Farm in Petaluma. 

At the March 10 meeting Nancy Evans will be leading the discussion of Chapter 2 of  the study book, "Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics and Sustainability" by Northwest Earth Institute. The NWEI has the motto "Inspiring people to take responsibility for Earth."  Hungry for Change explores the true meaning of the phrase "you are what you eat." The discussion course challenges participants to examine their roles, not only as consumers of food, but also as creators. Discussion questions address the impact of individual food choices on a range of issues, including ecosystem health, the treatment of factory and farm workers, and the global economy.

For more information on Napa Heifer volunteer group, call 707-255-3388.
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