Farm Director’s Report – Final 2016
To the Board of Partridge Creek Farm
Our next meeting is exactly two weeks from now and we have a lot to accomplish in that time frame to prepare for that meeting and the 2017 season.
It is my intention to have our first fundraiser, monthly newsletter, and membership drive, completed before that meeting. These goals require an organized plan of what we are going to do and how we are going to accomplish it this year. Thus, we need a skeleton of the revised business plan done by then as well.
2017 is a year where we have no firm base of land to build on- The growing land we can count on is limited or out of the downtown. We have been promised an acre of the Old Bell Hospital Site if Community Action Alger Marquette (CAAM) acquires the land and wins its bid for the tax credits required to build Senior Housing there. We will know more about this potential building site in March 2017 when the CAAM board votes on whether to move forward with the purchase of the land. If that happens we will begin our planning, budget and capital campaign for construction in 2018.
Growing Sites: We have a unique program in mind for 2017 that involves finding sponsors to build and maintain raised growing beds throughout the City of Ishpeming on public, municipal, and organizational lands that are located near the downtown, that can guarantee us a presence for at least 5 years, and that we can lease for free or negligible cost. These sites would be divided into categories of: 1) Educational Beds- specifically designated for classroom oriented programs, 2) Free Grazing Beds- specifically grown to be harvested by passers-by, and 3) Farm Purpose Beds, specifically used to grow food for PCF and its mission. We hope to have these beds and their regular maintenance paid for by bed sponsors who would be featured on plaques attached to the beds.
Educational Programs: The programs we are developing with the Ishpeming Schools, Headstart, Great Lakes Recovery Center, NMU, the Carnegie Library, MSU, The Queen City Seed Bank, Transition Marquette County, are in their infancy but are already starting to evolve and show promise. Ultimately, they will become the pillars of purpose that support this organizations existence and it is imperative that we grow these programs with the care and attention that we give to our gardens.
The educational program that needs the immediate attention now is the Ishpeming High School/ Middle School indoor growing project. We have received approval from the administration to build and run 2 growing locations in the school building. We have a high school senior, Bailey Willey, who has taken the leadership role, and who is willing to see the project through from next week’s construction and planting of a 3 light 5’x 9’ growing shelf to next month’s construction of a 9 light 24’ x 8’ growing wall that will be used to mentor the fifth and sixth grade students through planting, growing and harvesting of vegetables that will be used at school. We need money for lights and lumber.
Fundraising: Raising capital for operations and projects is currently being done by three means: sponsorship and charitable giving campaigns, a membership drive, and grant writing but will eventually assisted with sales of goods as product comes to fruition. I and Ellen Honkala, a Freshman Fellow at NMU, are running the Sponsorship and Contribution Drive and Hope to be done before the meeting on Jan 11th. Ray Bush, is managing the membership drive and Ray and I are both seeking and writing grants. We have just located a Clif foundation grant and are applying for $5-7000 toward our Community bed program from them.
The Next Partridge Creek Farm Board meeting is important because we will be voting on the programs we will be running for 2017 and for what direction the farm should be headed. Please try to keep your calendars free for the second Thursday at 6:30 at Rare Earth meeting and get Brian your Agenda items within the next 3 days.
Thanks, Dan Perkins, Farm Director