Four Corners Cooperative
Board of Trustees Meeting
June 9th 2021.
Trustees: Brian Drayton, Naomi Schoenfeld, Lincoln Geiger, Alice Groh, Ashley Renwick, Anthony Graham.
Farmer: Elad Sadeh.
Visitors: Barb Healy, Bodhi Renwick.
In the absence of Donna Riley, Brian read the opening passage by Thomas Merton.
The text for the study was the essay ‘Think Little’ by Wendell Berry. We had a lively discussion around the connection that is made in this essay between civil rights, war, and the environment. Other writings by Wendell Berry were suggested for possible future studies.
Vegetables: Elad spoke about insect and germination issues in connection with extreme fluctuations in the weather. He felt it might be useful to look at the fact that 30% of our crops are in the brassica family and they are all subject to the unwanted attentions of the flea beetle. Perhaps we need to cut back on these crops and replace them with others? There have also been issues with squashes and cucumbers, but there seems to have recently been some improvement.
Apprentice Pay: Anthony mentioned that the apprentice pay for all apprentices other than Graham (who started earlier), seems to have slipped to a beginning of month payment, rather than the end of month rhythm that is usually followed. In order to get back into the proper rhythm without too much disruption, Alice suggested that we pay them half of their July pay on July 1st and the other half on August 1st. The September 1st payment would then be the full amount for the month of August and we will be back on schedule. Naomi and Barbara will speak to the apprentices about this.
Admin: Anthony reported that on June 1st Milan had transferred all the administrative materials he had at home to the farm office. Barbara Johnson is sorting through it and she has taken over all bookkeeping and is doing deposits. This seems to be a stable situation for now but we need to know how long term this arrangement will be and whether we need to be looking for any other administrative help.
Hay: Lincoln reported that so far we have 82 round bales of hay and are hoping for at least 400. Silvano estimates that we could need as many as 500, so while we hope to make that much we need to be prepared to buy extra hay again this year. Lincoln feels that we need to begin plowing, amending and reseeding the fields next year in order to boost our hay production. Anthony mentioned that we should look at the number of cows we have and whether we could do with a few less to take the pressure off the haying situation.
Roofing: The whole cow barn has been re-roofed and Lincoln and Anthony have taken a break to allow Lincoln to focus on haying. This was the biggest part of the job and the rest should begin between the first and second cuts of hay.
Brian brought up the question of who could take over the membership job from Anthony. Barb Healy expressed interest.
Brian made the point that we should think about it carefully, and revisit the "job description" that we developed for Milan; we should not think about it as a volunteer position
This led to a wide ranging discussion about who should be the ‘membership person’ and about whether it should be a paid position.
Creamery (Further discussion should include Benjamin.)
This in turn led to a discussion of the place of the creamery in the farm and the degree to which the farm is financially dependent on the creamery. Some people felt that Benjamin had a strong vision, but would like to see a fuller business plan, especially relating to evidence about the potential market.
Questions were then raised as to whether the farm actually is dependent on the creamery and whether it should or should not be so.
Alice felt it would be a good idea if we could run some numbers showing what the farm budget would look like without all the costs and earnings of the creamery, in order to determine the degree to which we are, or are not, dependent on the creamery.
Obviously more discussion with Benjamin is needed.
Apprentices and Farmers
Elad asked that we develop a plan for farmer transition/retirement. The question of long term apprentices was raised and of how to attract and keep them. Brian will make a start on this by speaking with Kate Meyer at High Mowing School about a possible relationship between the farm and the school regarding tuition remission for children of both apprentices and farmers.
Ashley shared that she had asked David Graham if he would be interested in being a board member and he said he was, even if Anthony was still on the board. Anthony didn’t have a problem with that so she will ask David to contact Brian.
Brian read the closing from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Wednesday 7th July at 7 pm in the Garden Room.