2014 Annual General Meeting Minutes

2014 Annual General Meeting Minutes

Sunday, March 9, 2014
10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
@ Fifth Avenue Committee offices
621 Degraw St. (bet. 3rd & 4th Ave.)


25 people in attendance (Sharon, 1 child, 23 members – list at bottom)
Moderator & timekeeper: Melanie Holcomb
Minutes: Gabriele Wolf

1.     Introduce yourself, offer your favorite moment/memory from the garden last year

We had a wonderful sharing of our stories of what makes the garden special to us. Many people had wonderful chicken and compost stories.

2.     Landscaping proposal and Q&A

Sharon shows the outline of the garden and makes suggestions on improvements.

Members shared that they wanted; herbs throughout the garden for herb sales; native plants; and also important, a gardening area for kids.

Members noticed that the St. Marks side of the garden is nicer; Warren side needs more beautification. Sharon suggest perennials with a succession of blooms.

Next steps;
– Sharon will make a deeper assessment with current input from members.
– Garden then will vote on the improvements/changes
– we then have teams to carry out the work; they will be guided by the Garden Coordinator.
– Andrea knows of corporate programs that could donate labor.

3.     Dye Project discussion

Sewing Seeds have reached out to us and would like to cultivate some plants that can be used for natural dyes. We will put them in touch with our plot coordinator Dylan so he can determine if the plants fit the garden’s profile. We will also invite them to our next garden day.

4.     Idea free-for-all

We did a brain storm and these are some of the ideas people had.
> WORM WORKSHOP (help from the Lower Eastside Ecology Ctr. ) > KIT
>  Label the plants and the trees; KIT. There might be grants available for such programs (Gabriele will reach out to friend to find out)
>  Book of Weeds that lives in the garden to make identification easier.
> Cookbook with recipes from the garden supplied by members
> Mobile hospitality art project from Europe (Gabriele will send info)

If you like to share your ideas please email Andrea, andreatky@gmail.com.

5.     Steering Committee reports

Introduction: description of steering committee roles (3 minutes)
see chart

Administrator (work teams, connections to allied groups)
see chart

BANG! Rep (2013 review, 2014 forecast)
Mary gives introduction how BANG! works. They meet monthly and anybody can come. Several people have attended in the past.

Bang! Loan should be repaid to Warren/St. Marks. Deadline for submission for 2013 invoices to Bang for them to submit against reimbursement grants is March or April.

to do >> email tree estimate to Mary Dillon.  Find out exactly how many grants are available from Bang! annually.

Garden (2013 accomplishments, 2014 priorities)
> in 2013 Mical & Emily needed to leave as coordinators. Andrea stepped in the interim.
> In general community plots didn’t do so well in 2013; chips delivery was difficult.
> if parking space becomes available in front of Warren Street entrance,            please block and call Andrea. She will order the chips. >> done!

?    Compost & Open Hours outreach worked great!

Membership (including number of members to date)
130 members to date, and we already received a few new applications

> Tracking compliance/ work requirements still not as good as it should be.     > From 130 members only 16 were fully compliant with requirements.
> Members can participate in work teams – easy to track 8 hours work.
Less involved jobs are available.
> Exchange ideas on how to make your teams work well together.
> Sending out monthly emails to work teams, works very well.
> Not everybody has emails – careful that we don’t make the garden too digital. Ask members for preferred mode of outreach.
> Tracking the hours – best the old fashioned way. We will design better system in the shed and do better tracking on garden days.

Treasurer (2013 accounting  & projected 2014 budget)
> gives report on budget (see document)
> we need to know more about grants
> generate more fundraising ideas.
> reach out to 615 Green: Sheila will check on how they do their fundraising. Mary & Grace will coordinate with each other.

Fundraiser (existing and possible events/grants)
[I have no notes]

Events (2013 greatest hits, new events for 2014)
We had a egg hunt, Make Music performance, local produce festival, farewell party for the chickens, movie nights, and potluck.

Chloe is planning same series of events in 2014 and would like to add some more events such as spring equinox, earth day, harvest festival. We like to hold plant sale – need volunteers. Andrea’s husband would like to show some movies– during movie night pass the hat. Egg hunt, ask for donations. Chloe will draft a Quick reference guide for super important things to remember.

Plots (number of open plots, waiting list)
Dylan says we currently have 25 plots full plus 2 vacancies. We have 20 people on the waiting list. Four people would like to upgrade their plot. Sharon willing to share her plot.

About the waiting list;
> you should be a member in good standing if you want a plot. Check with existing members and give them a chance to correct their work requirements in case there were mistakes made.
> some people moved and have to be removed from the waiting list.
> if you are waiting for a plot you should be a primary plot steward for the community plots.

Watering and weeding should be separate positions.

Communications (revamping website)
Andrea say Valerie is revamping the website. We will add DONATE NOW Button. Sometimes info is hard to find > streamline a bit more.  Mary intends to add the garden’s address to Google maps, wants to find out what the proper address to use is? (619 Degraw St)

10-minute break, membership renewal and key swap

6.  Discussion of hosting our own flock of hens & vote
(moved forward from planned agenda because it affects budget)

The garden is currently fostering chickens from a school in Brownsville because Governors Island doesn’t need help with their chickens anymore.  We explore the question if we should get our own chicken flock and if yes, how do we organize it?

The chicken tender team had been asked to come up with a position to present at the Annual Meeting.

Kristen shares the questionnaire she sent to the chicken tenders (=people who took care of the chicken this winter). The objective was to get an understanding of how they felt about caring for the chickens and if they would be willing to take on the responsibility of our own flock.

General topics:  average hen lifespan is 12 years. Most stops laying eggs daily after 3 years.  Most tenders (14 people) wanted to keep the hens even when they were not laying regularly anymore, though a couple of people really like the eggs. Re idea of rotating in new hens: It’s not a great idea to add chicken to an existing flock, as it’s difficult – new hen can be pecked, killed.  Generally people like to be involved with the chickens. Designing a bigger run for the chickens. Main complaint from tenders was the shed: too much stuff inside, door blocked by snow and ice, locks froze. Suggested: Winterize the shed, hold workshop – chicken education. Bike tour to visit all other chicken places in the neighborhood. Steering committee votes positive.

Where will we get the chickens from? How many will we have? Kirsten proposes
6 chickens (variety that is used to the cold, docile, people friendly and good egg layers); Getting young chicken assures that they will be comfortable around people. The end game – we feel comfortable to let them live to their ends, not kill. Will we send them to a farm sanctuary or how do we care for them when they are sick and very old? This topic needs to be fully researched.

Some ideas are:
– Find a vet school for people in training (Brian).
– Divide the areas so we can have two flocks (Brian).
– Get our chickens from a farm in New Jersey – school project; farms do hatching (Tammy has contact)
– Gabriele has reached out to a farm as well

Concern raised that, we are making decision for future garden members that is unique for the current setup of the garden.

We discuss options future gardeners might have and consider changes in the bylaws to address issues such as long-term care.

Some members suggest that chicken funds should be self-sustainable past a certain point; we may ask for separate donations to support the hens.


In principle, do we want our own chicken flock?
17 YES, 1 NO

Chicken work team under the garden coordinator?
18 YES
Our new chicken work team is: Kristen & Tammy

Should Chicken Person be a new steering committee person?
all, NO

Tammy & Kristen will do further research (as discussed above)
18 YES

Can chicken team raise funds independently for their care?
yes 11
abstain 1

Next steps:
Kristin & Tammy will do research and come up with a plan about medical care for the chicken and end-of-life solutions.

7.     Elections for steering committee

David Bivins, new Garden Coordinator
Andrea Kannapell, Administrator
Amelia Wilson, new Membership Coordinator
Chloe Abercrombie, Events Coordinator
Ruth Chasek, Treasurer
Valerie English, Communications
Dylan Mabin, Plot Coordinator
Mary Dillion & Cara Schwartz, BANG! Reps
We are in need of a new Fundraising coordinator.

all in favor for above coordinators.

8.     Work team organization

> pruning, off season – we need a new leader, reconsider team
> compost, Kirsten – will remain
> weeding, Tammy
> watering , Dylan
(changes; watering will move over to plot coordinator; Dylan will talk with David about a method how best convey the watering rules; we will request plot holders to be in charge of watering)
> sidewalk, tree pit maintenance, Kit (she will need volunteers in the fall with raking); other people helped with shoveling in the winter. Thanks!
> open hours, Amelia
> community plot, Frank Ricci (new)
> New work team: Social Media Outreach, Brian (he will work with Valerie)
> Administration help and Co-Event coordination; Gabriele Wolf

David will set up team leader meeting.

Note: All members are welcome to steering committee meetings.

9.     Vote on projected budget

Steering committee had a discussion to do a fundraiser for the chicken.
when the first flock of governor arrived we got a lot of $$$ for building the coop. Many tenders donated $$$.

Should the garden ultimately be responsible for the upkeep of the chicken?

Accept the budget as is US$ 3830 version?
18 YES

Cleanup, more membership renewal and key swap


Chloe Abercrombie
Arlo Bivins
David Bivins
Cathy Carver
Ruth Chasek
Kristen Davis
Mary Dillon
Tammy Dunn
Grace Freedman
Max Henstell
Andrea Kannapell
Sharon Lawless
Dylan Mabin
Iris Maynard
Pat McCarty
Brian Ricci
Frank Ricci
Kit Schneider
Cara Schwartz
Sally Smith
Sheri Stein
Sarah Trignano
Amelia Wilson
Gabriele Wolf

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