Board meeting – 18/05/2018
Interviews for the café manager will take place in the 2 weeks commencing 28/5.
The farm is acquiring 4 large black pigs, to be housed on the edge of the woodland.
A volunteer is in the process of drafting up info and H&S signage for the farm.
Finance report: Shop and café sales continue to improve. The farm accounts for the year ending 30/9/17 have been drafted and the farm will be due a corporation tax rebate of over £4000.
Shop: Sales have continued to increase and we will be stocking ice cream in time for the bank holiday
Café: Sales have continued to increase although promotion of events has fallen behind due to the lack of resources.
Care farm: A new starter is attending from next week. Support workers are working on introducing greater structure to the service. There has been a lot of development work on the care farm garden.
Animals: There has been a spate of fox attacks, exacerbated by deliberate damage to the automatic hen house doors. This is currently being addressed.
The sheep will be shorn next week and from June we hope to find a buyer for 3 rams.
Education: A timetable for the summer holiday events is currently in development.
Growing: A review of the current and future growing practices reaffirmed that the aspirations of the growing project should broadly be as follows:
- To provide a showcase of vegetable growing with a view to engaging and inspiring visitors
- To grow smaller quantities of veg primarily for the shop; to be more strategic in terms of which crops to grow and which to buy in; and also potentially to grow select crops (salad leaves) for wholesale.
- To focus more on volunteering opportunities and education as core elements of the project, and to engage the care farm more.
Projects: The Environment Agency will be attending for a workday on 13/6 to begin dismantling the old field fencing in order to use the posts in the construction of the memory garden. The design for the garden and surrounds will be reviewed.
The donated garage was flagged up as a potential project. It was noted that this is potentially a lengthy project and the timeframe and resources should be carefully assessed to ensure it will be completed. Planning, risk assessment, and careful selection and management of appropriate volunteers is essential.
Volunteers: Use of the classroom by weekday volunteers is once again adversely impacting the care farm clients due to the limitations of space. It was suggested that the veg washing cabin might be used for brew making etc. A noticeboard specifically for volunteers and volunteer jobs should be introduced -sited outside the classroom. Use of a whatsapp group for volunteers was suggested. Concern was noted that the farm appearance and safety is beginning to suffer as a result of the substantial increase in volunteers in recent months and a lack of structure to volunteering. A sign in/out procedure for tools was suggested, as well as the need for better storage and also emphasis on tidiness and best working practice in the volunteer induction.
Proposal to paint slogans on the café walls: All agreed on the aspiration to explain and communicate the principles of the farm. The following three elements are considered particularly relevant:
- The ethos and principles of the farm and links to Transition.
- The principles of cooperatives
- The principles behind and construction of the ecobuilding
It was unanimously agreed that painting slogans on the walls was not the best way to achieve this. There is still a desire to utilize the wall space as gallery space for local artists and also for temporary educational/information displays, as proposed during the development of the building. Alternative suggestions to that proposed include framed pictures which can be changed; use of a spare TV to provide information; painting a mural on the block toilet walls outside the building; use of the wall opposite the café toilets as gallery space; and redesign of the café table booklets
- It was agreed the neighbour’s horses could utilize the fields for grazing
- A mixture of chicks and point of lay hens will be purchased to restock the hens and promote a varied age structure to the flock
- Board members will review a set of farm rules proposed for display on site
- It was proposed that a yurt is purchased to replace the tipi
- GDPR analysis is booked for 29/05. In line with this it was noted that office doors should always be closed and access restricted.
Next meeting: 22/06/2018