July’s saturating rains held off long enough for nearly 60 people to share a potluck meal and engage in SustainFloyd’s monthly Board meeting last week in the Floyd Community Market.
Members and the general public are welcome at SustainFloyd’s regular board meetings each month, but the event on Tuesday, July 9, marked the nonprofit’s first official membership meeting. SustainFloyd intends to make this meeting an annual tradition, giving members the chance to mingle with Board Members, Community Advisors and staff, to hear what the organization has been doing and to provide their own ideas and feedback.
Haden Polseno-Hensley, a Floyd native who this month succeeded Woody Crenshaw as president of SustainFloyd, re-affirmed SustainFloyd’s goal of helping the county to determine its own economic future.
“Floyd can act as a beacon for the region, for the state and for the whole southeastern part of the country for how a community can take control of its future,” Polseno-Hensley said.
The meeting kicked off with a beloved Floyd County tradition – the potluck meal. Board Member Jackie Crenshaw delivered an invocation quoted Bill McKibben and Wendell Berry, whose writings were influential in the founding and development of SustainFloyd.
Members then heard a report on SustainFloyd’s various programs:
• Director Mike Burton described how the one of the organization’s first projects – a feasibility study for a value-adding Food Processing Facility – has resulted in the development of a full-fledged business plan and is now shifting into the proof-of-concept phase.
• Farmers Market Manager Marsha Krigsvold described how the market allows local businesses to sell directly to local customers, while also serving as a community gathering point.
• Operations Coordinator Mason Adams talked about the steady growth of Farm to School, a partnership with several other community organizations that help connect local farmers with school cafeterias, and planned expansion this fall.
• Mike said SustainFloyd’s working model farm, Blue Valley, has started producing vegetables for the regional wholesale market. The farm is testing the “Pocket Farm” model for wholesale production on less than 2 acres. The Pocket Farm class will be offered again this fall. Jon Beegle and Tom Maxey, who took the spring class, talked about how it helped them to develop their business plans for small farm production.
• Pat Sharkey said this year’s Floyd Artisan Trail Tour, which took place in June at roughly 45 studios and farms around the county, looks like it was a success. She also presented an update on the Friday Artisan Market, which helps connect local crafters with customers.
• Jackie Crenshaw reported on the SustainFloyd Film Series, which ended a successful run this spring and will be starting up again later this fall.
• Andy Morikawa spoke about Voluntours, a partnership with Via International which brought 25 students from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia,Pa., for a week of volunteer service and learning about the county and its culture.
• Rick Brown gave an update on the “Volts Wagon,” SustainFloyd’s mobile solar generator. The parts for the generator are in hand, and it will be built soon. The Volts Wagon will power the Farmers Market and serve as an educational tool.
The Board and members of SustainFloyd also paid tribute to Woody Crenshaw, who is the organization’s founding president. Woody served from 2009 through the end of June this year. He remains as a board member and chairman of SustainFloyd’s Development Committee.
SustainFloyd works to leverage and preserve Floyd County’s existing assets and traditional strengths in agriculture and craftsmanship to help build a resilient rural local economy. To learn more about SustainFloyd and its mission, go to www.sustainfloyd.org.