Iowa Network For Community Agriculture

  (Des Moines, Iowa)
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December 15th, 2009 INCA Board Meeting Minutes

The INCA board met at the Greater Des Moines Partnership on December 15, 2009 from 9:30 to noon. 

Present were Kelly Foss, Tai Johnson-Sprat, Ryan Marquardt, and Matt Russell.

Ryan reported that he attended two fundraising workshops one sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and one through the non-profit development center but the participation fee was paid for by the LC.

Kelly presented and the board reviewed the balance sheet.  We have $750 outstanding to our board financial assistant for his regular services (October, November, December) and $1500 in services still due to the North Iowa Group from the 2009 annual conference.  We have $2000 in accounts receivable from the State of Iowa.  Our board financial assistant is tracking this.  We also have a $500 outstanding sponsorship from the 2009 conference from either Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture or from NC SARE.   

The board discussed a gathering on a smaller scale than previous annual conferences.  Matt moved, Kelly seconded and the board approved the following structure for this gathering.

A Workshop Potluck to be held February 6 in Perry from 9 AM to 3 PM.  INCA will provide a light continental breakfast with a potluck lunch.  There will be no charge for paid members, a $35 charge for households that are not members, with the board recruiting and waiving the fee for targeted Perry locals.  Participants can choose between one of two workshops in the morning and one of two workshops in the afternoon.  Board members will lead workshops with a suggestion of Kelly leading a workshop on farmers markets, Matt leading a workshop on profitability, and Ryan and Tai leading a workshop on poultry.  These workshops would be facilitated sharing more than formal presentations.  We would incorporate the annual meeting with this gathering.  The theme could be related to “INCA Going Back to Our Roots.”

 Matt moved, Ryan seconded and the board approved a budget of $2000 for the board to spend on this gathering.

 The board will develop an RFP to hire a coordinator to organize this gathering.  The coordinator would be paid $1000 plus mileage.  The language needs to be worked out but here are the things mentioned in the meeting.

  • Find and recommend sites in Perry to the board
  • Communicate logistics and details for board action with the board
  • Provide fine detail management of workshops, potluck, and morning coffee
  • Provide communication and outreach for promotion via letter to members, postings on list serves, and a press release
  • Organize on site logistics—board and members can provide labor, but the coordinator will organize the logistics

The RFP would be sent to a targeted group of talented individuals.   

Ryan moved, Tai seconded, and the board approved approaching our current board financial assistant with new duties under a contract for Assistant to the Executive Board.  These duties include

  • Organizing and scheduling board meetings
  • Developing board meeting agendas
  • Communicating with members and the general public via electronic avenues—e-mail, list serve, blog.  This includes coordinating with the web master.
  • Managing official board documents
  • Following up with board members on activities and tasks
  • Coordinating limited board activities such as an annual board retreat
  • Identifying and maintaining grant/resource opportunities for the board (not to write grants)
  • Attending board meetings.

If our current board financial assistant is interested, then we need to negotiate compensation for these additional tasks.  If not, we’ll ask our board financial assistant for input on a compensation range that the board will need to develop.  

The board identified five people to try to recruit to the board.  The expectation is that Kelly and Gina will be leaving the board in February and we need to recruit at least two but up to four people to join the board for 2010.  Hiring an Assistant to the Executive Board should provide increased capacity and better functionality for the board.  The following people were identified as potential board members with the current board member responsible for recruitment.

 

 

October 2nd, Thoughts From Discussion Post Board Training

After the board training, a discussion amongst the board members yeilded the following revelations. One, that we were crazy to hold our annual conference in the format that we have had in the past on the timeline we were considering (2nd week of February 2010). Two, that our conference was different then other organization conferences, because of the process we go through and the follow-up work we do to cultivate local connections. Three, that our focus as an organization is not on our memberships, but on our work in communities, and that our conferences planning system should reflect that.  Michael, thank you for saying we were crazy and forcing us to revaluate how we go about this process. 

 The plan hatched from this will look like the following vision. INCA will slow our conference planning system and protocol and invest more time in the community that will host the conference.  Now, INCA will focus on having a large full conference every other year. To begin that process, INCA will hold a smaller gathering on non-conference years. This smaller gathering will serve to hold an annual member meeting, serve as a community event with a potluck, begin the process of recruiting people for a larger conference next year (begin the local planning committee), and be an expression of confidence in the host community and in the investment INCA has put in in the past and in the future.

 Ryan 

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September 15th, 2009 Board Meeting Minutes

INCA Board Meeting Minutes

September 15, 2009

In attendance: Ryan, Matt, Michael, Gina

The board discussed the possibility of hiring a program manager to coordinate the conference, do follow-up, do membership development, grantwriting, etc. We considered whether to issue an RFP or to ask people who are known to the board and who have worked with INCA in the past. A speedy decision is important because conference planning needs to begin soon. The board plans to review the INCA conference manual to identify a set of tasks involved in conference planning. The board will then write and present an RFP for this job.

The board considered sites for the annual conference. A decision on this matter involves making contact with stakeholders in potential sites and evaluating the level of interest in the conference. The potential sites are Boone, Dallas County and Albia.

The board discussed the board and consultant training workshop scheduled for October 2. Gina identified several planning issues related to the workshop. The board determined that the workshop will be held in the Downtown Partnership offices from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ryan will send Gina a list of attendees next week.

August 18th, 2009 Board Meeting Minutes

The board met on August 18th hosted by Kelly Foss at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

 

 Kelly Foss, Ryan Marquardt, Gina Lloyd, Matt Russell, and Michael Haedicke were on hand.

 

The board has three big tasks that are being planned: the INCA conference, the CFSC workshop and the board training.  INCA continues to be in great shape with strong finances and great programming.  The challenge is getting everything done.

 

Several board members will present our Growing Food and Profit program at the Community Food Security Coalition conference in Des Moines in October.  We’ll also take participants through one of our asset based facilitated processes.  For the workshop we’ll focus on a shared experience with people coming from across the country: federal programs that feed people.  

 

For the conference the board is looking at communities where our GF and P has been the strongest.  We’ll be announcing a location for the 2010 Local Food Conference soon.

 

The next board meeting will be face-to-face on September 15.

 

Thanks to Carol for completing the work on the IDPH contract.  Carol and Gina are also preparing a retreat on October 2 for the board so that we have a better understanding of the GF&P program which is the foundation of much of our programming.

 

Kelly delivered the Treasurer’s Report. Two thousand dollars of the IDPH grant is being held up although INCA’s work is done. Sean is working to resolve this. Carol has completed her contract and is being paid. There are some conference questions coming up. INCA has not received a sponsorship of $500 from the Leopold Center (SARE money). INCA has a $20K CD that will mature at the end of October. We need to decide what to do with it.

 

The board talked about hiring a staff position to manage conference planning, training and other tasks.  We have so many good ideas and so little time as a volunteer board.  One suggested was made to contract for some grant writing work as well as the programming work.

 

It’s always energizing coming out of the INCA board meeting.

 

Matt Russell

Bringing the World Up to Date

Hello Folks,

I will be working to update the blog to the best of my ability over the next couple of days.  I am Ryan Marquardt, the current board chair of INCA. I was elected to my first two year term in 2008 and will be up for election this year. INCA has been going through a lot of changes over the past two years. Many of these changes are not visible to folk outside of the board. INCA has shifted to hiring several support and program consultants, as opposed to hiring fixed staffing. We have seen many long-time members shift off of the board and are replacing them. The goal is to build our board capacity and then work outward. We are an all volunteer board and at times it makes it hard to move forward on items. We are looking at hiring a assistant to the executive committee to elevate the log jam and allow us to move more quickly on things. 

I suspect that INCA will spend much of the next 6 months focused internally on solidifying the board and making sure every one is trained. After that time, I want to nudge INCA toward more programing activities. It is these activities that have made INCA the organization that is and it is important that we get our focus back on that element as soon as possible. 

 So I apologize for the long silence from the board and look forward to the future. We want to invite folks to com out to an INCA gathering in Perry, IA on March 13th. We will be holding several workshops, share in a community potluck, conduct our annual meeting, and most important of all, network.

Thanks,

Ryan 

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