[permaculture] Red Rcok Texas - Sustainable Ag meeting minutes

Forest Garden forestgarden at austin.rr.com
Tue May 3 10:42:52 EDT 2005


Hello Everyone,

If you have ever wanted to move to the country and live sustainably, maybe
do some farming, think
Red Rock Texas.

The sustainable agriculture meeting last week was quite successful with 20
folks turning out.  The very short gist of the meeting was a decision to
begin working on creating a farm to school program with the Red Rock
Elementary School.  If we can pull it off with Red Rock Elem, then we can
expand to more schools, prisons, other government agencies...  Although the
bureaucratic hurdles will be a challenge, getting such a solid buyer for
produce will certainly help existing local farmers, and encourage more folks
to start growing food.

We definitely need some more help in implementing this project, so if you
are at all interested, please let me know.  There is a farm-to-school
conference in Ohio in June which we want two to three people to attend (we
may have the funds to help you get there if you will be committed to getting
the program started here in Red Rock).

Below are more detailed minutes.

Cheers,

Marjory Glowka





Friends,



It was a pleasure to meet all of you last Wednesday regarding our mutual
interest in sustainability and local markets of meat and produce.  What a
great first meeting with 20 participants!  Here are brief notes of our
meeting.

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Sheril Smith opened the meeting around 6:40 pm and explained briefly how
there were several Bastrop County citizens that were concerned about the
future of Bastrop County, and were interested in seeing local food
production being sold to local consumers, which could involve a county or
region wide coop.  We also thought it important that small farmers/ranchers
be able to work together to provide local food resources to feed the local
population, so that they could stay on the land and be productive.  We don't
look forward to Austin suburbia overtaking our lands in Bastrop County, but
when small land owners cannot make a living off the land, they are often
eager to accept the money offered to them by developers.  In coming years,
as petroleum products decline, having a local food supply will also be a
national security issue.  We need to develop local food markets now before
the crisis is upon us.  At the same time, preserving rural property provides
for a diverse ecosystem and open space that contributes to healthy water
resources and wildlife.  All of this is about having a sustainable way of
living within our local communities.  So we called a meeting on like-minded
citizens to see if you agreed.



Steve Bridges spoke about the Farm to School program and how it might be a
good first step for this group to take, to organize local producers to
supply one small school district.  Steve mentioned there is a Farm to School
conference in Ohio on June 16 that he is considering attending and he also
asked if others might be interested in going.  These programs are already in
place around the country so we know they have a successful track record.  We
just need to do our research and learn from what's already been accomplished
and apply it locally.   Steve also stated that he will be mailing out
packets to all group members as soon as he had everyone's addresses. And he
has set up an online discussion group which all of us will be invited to
join.  Local school district staff was looking into the school's purchasing
policies for more info, knowing that all vendors had to be on the approved
vendor list.



Judy Fort, Texas Department of Agriculture discussed the pros and cons of
coops.  She stated she is here to help us with whatever it is that we wish
to accomplish.  She gave examples of other coops around the state, talking
about how they are set up with a board of director's, etc.  Judy will be an
excellent resource for our group as we go forward.



There was a great deal of discussion of all options and we all agreed that
much more research needs to be done so that we can decide what might be best
for our group.  We agreed to meet again in July after Steve has attended the
Farm to School Conference in Ohio and also giving all of us time to do more
research on what it is that we wish to accomplish, whether it be a coop,
educational outreach, farm to school programs, economic development of rural
areas, etc.    The meeting was adjourned about 8:00 pm.



Exact date and time of July meeting to be announced.  Likely will be on a
Saturday afternoon and may include a cookout/picnic.

Please feel free to share any additions/corrections to these brief notes by
replying to all by email.  (Sorry I couldn't remember everyone's name and
who said what) Thanks to all of you for coming to this first meeting.  I'm
excited about our future work together!



Sincerely,

Sheril Smith











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