Steering Committee Meeting Minutes – May 4th, 2015

Steering Committee meeting of 5/4/15

Attending: (SC) Chloe, Melanie, Brian, Val, Sarah, Kristen, Andrea, David by phone; (BANG rep and alt) Ruth and Sally; plus Gab, and Max for a bit.

1. Possible fundraiser pegged to hens birthday.
Max and Shayna making a cake suitable for hens, special recipe. Their actual birthday is May 7, but Brian will be away and there’s not a long time to organize. So¬†we’ll choose a date in June, give them a chicken swing, make a fundraiser out of it.
(Our June garden day is on the 14, a Sunday. So perhaps the following Saturday, so the garden will be looking its best?)

2. Finances:
Melanie says we haven’t even touched our reserve funds and we have 3 times as much money as last year, thanks to membership dues increase and grants. (We also just had our best plant sale ever, making $618.) We are doing well but should continue to fundraise since we have the capacity and enthusiasm, and some great, potentially expensive, projects on the horizon.

Discussion: should we make contribution sign/jar part of Open Hours shift?

Some don’t want people to feel pressure that they need to donate every time they set foot in the garden. Perhaps it should be limited to specific moments. We agree that it makes sense to put the jar and sign out, when we’re having an event with a lot of organizers, and on garden days. But putting it out generally might be putting too much responsibility on the open hours person.

We’ll also add a donate button to our redesigned website, and we are trying to add one to our Facebook page (Brian working on this).

3. Hen security
Kristen says we’re now keeping the coop locked, whether the hens are out or in, to keep anyone from getting inside the coop or bringing other animals in. No one but tenders will be allowed inside coop.

Kristen will give Val language for a sign on the coop about the new rules.

4. Update on the water supply
Andrea says that Gahl Shottan, our GreenThumb liaison, came out and examined the valve by the northern bollard. She suggested the problem might just be a loose nut. Andrea arranged for Vigilante to come by Tuesday morning to assess the problem. They are waiving their $79 assessment fee, and if is just a matter of tightening the screw, will not charge. If it is more complicated, we will get a second opinion and estimate from David’s plumber.

5. BANG business
Ruth and Sally say that all is going well. BANG wants help with the Fab Fifth Fair on May 17. They will have the tent out for the first time, and need help staffing. They also want plant starts to sell.

In future, Ruth and Sally will transmit BANG biz by email and if appropriate, as in this case, write something up for Val to send to membership.

6. Melanie and Gab present options for longterm changes in the garden layout.

Handouts show the plans. The original Sally Lawless garden plans didn’t work because the structures would be in the middle of the garden, obstructing views. These options avoid that and move things around to maximize sun for plots.

— move compost to where kids plot is now, and move displaced plots to current compost area. It would be a more attractive compost set up, maybe with a pergola.
— We can add some seating where the steel cans are now.
— Chickens will stay where they are, but the shed may shift. We could (a) get one big shed for everything, or (b) get a largeish shed for the tools and a smaller one for hen stuff.
— We don’t want to lose a kids plot, so it will be moved nearer the shed. David’s reconstruction allowed for a kids plot near the community plots.
— Desire for seating by the coop and by the euonymus (that big green bush in the center of the garden).
— The Warren St. entrance will get a bricked-in oval and native plants, per our grants.
— Shrubs with four-season interest along the Laynes’ wall, by the picnic table.
— Should we move the fruit trees over by the shed? They will shade the newly built community plots.

Andrea will ask Justin of Arborpolitan if we CAN move them.

Steering Committee votes for Plan #2 (two sheds, with the big one placed is where the big pile of bricks is (“the altar”).

Melanie will send Val the plan to post online, and language to send out to membership that we’ll vote on the plan on the next garden day, May 16.

small shed $450
big shed 5×10 cost tk

We’ll maybe put a bench where the little round table is now, to remove the roadblock the round table tends to cause. Bench would also be safer — the chairs tend to tumble over.

Brian’s question: can we paint the wood of the plots? Andrea will ask Gahl if we can do that and still be organic.

We will invite members to propose locations for seating.

7. Looking forward to the CSA
David says we have 7 shares signed up so far, and need 10. A lot of people are sharing, which means a lot are participating. Do keep encouraging people to sign up. David will send a note to Val and to Brian to post for members and nonmembers. Sally will propose it to attendees at the Warren St. block association meeting May 16.

8. Update on compost reorganization
Sarah says things are great, temperature is awesome, often reaching 150 — high enough to kill weed seeds. We are now mixing in leaves and dirt as well as sawdust.
–She moved the black bin next to the tumbler behind the tree, with the other one. They have all the un-broken-down hay and poopy sawdust and leaves. Coop cleaners can mix the used sawdust into the black bins, the steel cans and the main bins.
–Having the orientations was fantastic. Still have funny surprises — somebody dropped off a feather pillow. Possibly a dead bird.
–Re the Park Slope Food Coop compost, we are still trying to meet up with the point person to discuss what we can manage.
–The tumbler can now be converted into a sifter, by purchasing a screen and replace a latch. We’ll wait till we get the new one running before disassembling the old one. More food is being brought for the hens. We need a fifth can — they’re filling up fast. Sarah will reach out to Gregg Zuman to make sure our supply of wood shavings continue. We may add coffee chaff from Gorilla to the compost or coop or to ward off insects.

9. VolunteerSpot/Slack
VS seems to be working, and we are all learning. Andrea will try to set up a workshop for a coming weekend so we can all do some hands-on familiarization. Steering committee is on Slack, and we are all getting used to it. Down the road, we may consider having our work teams use Slack channels as well.

Great meeting — all that in LESS than 90 minutes.

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