Looking forward to seeing all of you on MONDAY, at Melon Head Farms for a farm tour, social pot-luck, and NETWORK meeting. Here's a quick run-down in preparation for our get-together.
Farm Tour starts at 5pm
MELON HEAD FARMS
500 Brando Trail Clarkesville , GA. 30523
Take 197 N of Clarkesville (L after Copper Pot restaurant). In 0.6 miles slight L onto Alec Mtn Road (after BP on left). In 1.5 miles left onto Brando Trail.
On the tour you'll get to see a cold frame built onto their house and heated using solar energy and captured in black rainbarrels, a wide range of perrenial crops, their tractor and tillage equipment, hear about irrigation and other plans, and of course the melon patch.
After the tour around 6pm we'll have a POTLUCK dinner. Please e-mail to this list what you're bringing so we don't duplicate too much. This is always one of the most fun aspects of our get-togethers so thanks for contributing. (I'm planning on bringing Bindi Masala which is an Indian okra dish). Also remember to bring A FOLDING CHAIR, a plate, and cup and utensils. This really cuts down on our waste (and costs for paper goods). We'll have our usual wash tubs for cleaning everything before hauling it home. We will have extras for those who forget.
Then our NETWORK meeting has quite an agenda:
· GA MTN FARM TOUR follow up - if you have time take a look at the participant feedback we received from our online survey. We had 13 people respond which gives some good ideas of how to improve this event for next year. Please think about and offer your own suggestions of how to improve this event. I'm also attaching the final budget. You'll notice we profited about $600 which will all go to the GA Mountains Farmers Network (that's you guys) for whatever tasks we feel are most valuable (towards next years event, etc, etc). Lastly is our attendees list if you're curious how many people attended (we sold 48 tickets, and had well over 100 attend, probably closer to 150).
· Co-op Marketing to ATLANTA - This is probably the biggest CO-OP opportunity for us to discuss. We had some good discussion at our last few meetings and we've started to narrow down options (no one is that interested in wholesale markets, etc.). Several of us have been brainstorming here. We'll share our ideas, and please bring your own.
· SHARED EQUIPMENT - we've been brainstorming on a cooperatively owned piece of equipment for awhile. This meeting we'll list all options, prioritize, perhaps try and see some in action.
· BULK ORDERS advance preparations - This went well last year, but should happen earlier and possibly expand to other types of orders. We'll discuss deadlines and dates, and vendors (7 springs, worm castings from Dahlonega, minerals, potatoes, others).
· GRANTS - the GMFN may want to start looking at potential grants both individually and as a group. USDA VALUE ADDED PRODUCER GRANTS are available (as a group) as are SARE Producer Grants (individual), and SARE Community Innovation Grants (group). Any grant should arise from the priorities we've identified, but could possible pay to help develop an Atlanta marketing and distribution program. Other ideas?
· FOOD BANK VALUE ADDED FACILITY - The Food Bank of NE Georgia is interested in building a flash freezing facility in Rabun county that could be used by local farmers. What type of input should we offer as they move forward in their own grant solicitations for this facility.
· ADDING LISTSERV to COMMUNICATION TOOLS - The website has been a good tool, but one limitation is the opportunity for two way communication. A YAHOO listserv has been established and if folks are willing could be the easiest way for two way communication by all members in the NETWORK.
That should just about do it. If you have other issues you'd like to add to our agenda, or to consider at future meetings, please let us know and we'll definitely work it in.
Thanks for participating and we look forward to seeing everybody on MONDAY! Don't forget to e-mail to all your POTLUCK dish.
Soque Lover Gardens
Georgia Mountains Farmers Network
(supported by Certified Naturally Grown)