Massachusetts Local Food Cooperative Annual Meeting Minutes
February 27, 2011
Present: ___ voting members
Absent: ___ voting members
Quorum Present? Yes
Meeting called to order by Kelley O’Connor at 2:10 p.m.
- All present approved the 2010 annual meeting minutes.
- Kelley expressed much gratitude for the people who have helped make the co-op a success: the Board of Directors, the various committees, the website team, the e-mail list manager, and the numerous other volunteers who help on Distribution Day and behind the scenes.
- In 2010, the co-op enjoyed 100% growth: Membership doubled from 130 in January 2010 to 260 in December 2010; orders rose from 45 in January to 75 in December; food sales rose from $2,900 in January to $7,100 in December.
- Other accomplishments include moving the sorting site from the Finnish Farmers Co-op building to Johnson & Sons Poultry Farm; the launch of a new website that gives the co-op a strong online presence; the launch of the Holden pickup site in February 2010 and the Worcester pickup site in February 2011.
- The producer committee works tirelessly to ensure that our producers conform to our producer procedures. The publicity committee has done an outstanding job getting us visibility in the press. The e-mail list manager will need help with all the new interest pouring in. Each month the distribution day team manages the growth in orders and gets them sorted and efficiently delivered to our pickup sites.
- In spite of inevitable challenges and surprises, we all want this co-op to work, and we will work together to resolve the problems, to compromise, and to help each other.
Finance (reported by Kelley O’Connor)
- Total income in 2010 was $71,000; gross profit was $6,500, and net income was $131.
- Our total expenses for the year was $6,400
- As of December 2010, our membership shares total was $9,975. Our checking account balance was $10,740.
- As of January 31st, our newest member ID was #300: we have 216 members paid in full; 14 members have left the co-op; 61 members have pending dues; 22 new members have joined since Feb1st; and 9 member IDs are used for other purposes.
Publicity (reported by Sheryl Vaillette)
- The committee currently has four members and met just a couple of times in 2010. It hopes to add members and meet at least four times in 2011.
- Focus has been on getting the word out about MLF, building membership, and recruiting a volunteer site manager for the Worcester pickup site and a driver for the Berlin pickup site. Most of the work was accomplished through e-mail.
- Other publicity-related work (within and outside of the publicity committee) has included revising the text on some of the co-op’s print material; developing and launching the website; and creating new business cards and info cards.
- The committee wrote and sent press releases and public service
- One committee member is a freelance writer and has written stories about MLF for this summer’s issue of Worcester Living Magazine and the March issue of Edible Boston.
- Committee members have tabled at conferences and attended food- and sustainability-related workshops and events. Kelley and one committee member were recently interviewed on Fitchburg Cable Access TV.
- Sheryl invites anyone who would like to join the publicity committee to e-mail her.
announcements to area newspapers, which led to several newspaper interviews and articles, including one that appeared on the front page of the Fitchburg Sentinel,
Producer Standards and Compliance (reported by Margaret LeRoux)
- The Producer Standards and Compliance Committee met on a monthly basis throughout the year with the exception of December. This committee monitors the Mass Local Food website for compliance to Mass Local Food standards as well as standards for USDA Organic programs and local and state board of health regulations. It also recommends changes in standards to the Board of Directors.
- In 2010 the committee approved 18 new producers, adding a wide range of products to the lineup, including vegetables, cheese, baked goods, pickled products, and meats. Producers added in 2010 are
- Turning Tree
- Bird of the Hand
- Holiday Farm
- Isle of View Farm
- Mesa Farm
- Sargent’s Kitchen
- 220 Soap
- Katalyst Kombucha
- Many Hands Organic Farm
- Gourd and Plenty
- Isle of View
- Johnson and Sons Poultry Farm
- Real Pickles
- Natural Specialties
- Robinson’s Farm
- Silvermine Farm
- Wheel View Farm
- The committee performed farm inspections throughout the season and plans to continue them into the 2011 season to ensure compliance with Mass Local Food Standards and Procedures.
- The committee also terminated relationships with two producers for non-compliance with standards. In addition, two producers unlisted their products due to low volume of sales and the inconvenience of bringing their products into the sorting site.
- The committee helped establish a cooperative delivery for several producers who come from the same area. This eliminates much of the transportation cost of the delivery day trip, and also reduces the overall time required for the producers to bring their products to the sorting site. For some low volume producers, the committee suggested a rotating schedule whereby products are listed for one month and then unlisted for several months in order to increase sales volume during the active months.
- Throughout 2010, the committee worked with producers on compliance issues such as:
- Educating members about genetically modified ingredients
- Ensuring that meat and poultry was USDA inspected and labeled according to FSIS standards
- Improving the standards and descriptions for produce so consumer members know exactly what they are purchasing
- Requiring producers to update pertinent information on their web pages
- In the coming year, the committee will continue monitoring the site to make sure Mass Local Food is in compliance with all state and federal standards. A large portion of time will be spent on quality issues educating producer members about consumer-member expectations. To begin this process, the committee will issue a vegetable quality survey to all members.
Expansion (reported by Kelley O’Connor)
- The expansion committee fielded interest for new pickup sites from 11 different towns: Holden, Somerville, Cambridge, Brookfield, Concord, Shrewsbury, Boxboro, Douglas, Worcester, Lunenburg, and Wendell. We successfully launched Holden in February 2010 and Worcester in February 2011.
- Responding to someone’s interest in launching a site with a letter about how to do it doesn’t seem to be working. We launched Worcester by holding a presentation about Mass Local Food – and therefore sending out a public service announcement before the presentation – and this helped gain momentum toward a launch and also helped find the necessary volunteers to support the pickup site.
- We now have plans for a presentation in Framingham at the end of March, with the goal of launching a pickup in Framingham on the May distribution date.
- Kelley seeks volunteers for the expansion committee to work on getting at least 5 sites launched in 2011. The committee will work on the best plan of attack to meet this goal, including initial response to interest, follow-up response, scheduling and publicizing a presentation, and volunteer training.
Distribution (reported by Kelley O’Connor)
- The distribution day committee meets every first Friday of the month for sorting day; beyond that, it doesn’t meet regularly.
- In 2010, the team has had enough volunteers for sorting day to complete all the tasks necessary.
- The committee is grateful to Mae Zagami and Dorcas Hurd, who have committed to being there every sorting day.
- We’ve managed to keep up with the growth by buying enough tables and coolers and finding enough boxes to get all the orders sorted and out to the pickup sites.
- In summer 2010 we outgrew the Finnish Farmers Co-op building and used a canopy tent to sort the orders that would not fit inside. Only one sorting day was rainy all summer.
- Several members of the team searched and found a sorting site that meets several of our needs – size (larger), heat, and bathroom facilities. We moved to 51 Knower Rd in November.
- We are most grateful to the Johnsons who have allowed us to use the site for free so far and have let us to store our tables and coolers there during the month.
Expression of Gratitude for Board of Directors
- Kelley thanked Rachel Ross Rissmiller (treasurer) and Nancy Burnett (secretary), who stepped down from the Board of Directors. Rachel served a year on the BOD and helped search for a new sorting center. Nancy served on the BOD from the beginning and has helped out tremendously.
- Kelley also thanked Kerrie and Sheryl, who serve on the Board of Directors and put in countless hours, enabling this co-op to run smoothly. We would not be here today if it was not for them and all their hard work.
- Kelley also thanked David Leach and Karen Sargent, who served on the Board of Directors with little notice.
Election of Slate of Directors to Board of Directors
Voting members elected the following slate of new directors: Mae Zagami and Margaret LeRoux.
(General Meeting temporarily adjourned for BOD election of officers)
Election of Officers
The Board of Directors elected the following new officers:
- Treasurer: Mae Zagami
- Secretary: Karen Sargent
- At-large Director: Margaret LeRoux
(General Meeting called to order)
Announcement of 2011 Board of Directors
Kelley introduced the 2011 Board of Directors
- President: Kelley O’Connor
- Vice President of Producers: Kerrie Hertel
- Vice President of Customers: Sheryl Vaillette
- Treasurer: Mae Zagami
- Secretary: Karen Sargent
- At-large Directors: David Leach, Margaret LeRoux