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Report on the Annual General Meeting

From notes by Ted Zettel, Mike Beretta,

Tony McQuail & Shelly Paulocik

Marketing Panel

Several valuable ideas and thoughts were presented at this part of the AGM. An important starting point is to know your market. Talk to your "would be" customers and see what it is they want. By knowing your market you'll be able to sell what you produce, and won't be frustrated when no one wants beets and you have a quarter acre of them, but you're all out of carrots in September. It's also important to set your goals on what you can reasonably produce. Eric Eberhardt, with his experience as a wholesaler, grower and retailer also reflected on the value of liking what you do. So, when he realized he was unhappy as a wholesaler, he got out. Eric also commented on the importance of the attractiveness of the package and label, and how this in combination with a product's pricing can make or break the success of that item.

Members' Tips

Following the potluck lunch at the AGM, an open discussion on some of the year's highlights brought out several comments on rotational grazing. Martin Pronk reported that after his first year he concluded that he "should have started 20 years ago." Mike Beretta explained his success at pasturing his calves on the front lawn of the house in late fall to extend the grazing season. As well, Chris Hoskins related a humorous episode stemming from his desire to replace the lawn mower with a flock of ewes. We encourage Chris to study the latest innovations in electric fencing over the winter and try again next spring! (By Ted Zettel)

Members' Forum

The members forum at the 1994 Annual Meeting provided helpful guidance to the Board of Directors. There was virtually unanimous approval to increase the membership to $25 per year, or $65 for three years. These membership rates came into effect January 1, 1995. Several members said that the EFAO was a bargain and a valuable source of information.

Members also supported the direction proposed by the Board for tours in 1995, i.e. reducing the number of provincially organized tours and encouraging local organizational network tours.

The question of whether to seek arrangements with the OFA and/or the Christian Farmers Federation so that a portion of a members stable funding fee could be redirected to EFAO received little support from the members and will not be pursued.

In other business, EFAO member Ziggy Kleinau brought forward his concern about radioactive tritium from nuclear power stations and its accumulation in food produced near them. After a discussion, members supported a motion to add our support to a request for a full environmental review by the Atomic Energy Control Board and to ask Ziggy to represent us at a meeting in December. (By Tony McQuail)

Elections

Other business during the afternoon's session were Ruth Knight's financial report, and finally the elections. While Shelly Paulocik stepped down from the Board of Directors to concentrate solely on the newsletter, two new members climbed on board. We extend a warm welcome to the new directors. For those of you who don't know them, here are brief introductions they've written:

My name is Mike Beretta and along with my wife Cynthia, I farm just south of Bluevale. Our mixed livestock farm includes beef, pork, turkey, chicken, rabbit, ducks, and eggs, which we deliver weekly to restaurants and homes in Toronto. I'm a graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College, an experience I refer to as being, "like a guerrilla deep in enemy territory." My interests include grass farming, bio-dynamics, and anything involved with self-sufficiency on the farm. I'm looking forward to becoming more involved with the EFAO, and hope to help young farmers starting out, as well as reaching out to more non-rural individuals interested in ecological farming.

As a new director for the EFAO I would like to introduce myself. My name is Peter Leahy and I farm in Peterborough county. So there, I'm making it easy for you to remember: Peter from Peterborough. Several years ago I made a commitment to organic production practices because I believe it to be healthier for the consumer and just as importantly, for the farmer. I'm excited about becoming more involved in the EFAO so that I can both contribute to their activities and undoubtedly learn from some of the masters. I hope to be able to strengthen the presence of EFAO in central Ontario through courses and tours. I look forward to getting to know more of the members and together continue to foster the growth of the EFAO. My phone/fax is 705-652-1337.

Newsletter Update

After a brief summary of her efforts on the EFAO News during the past year, Shelly welcomed members to join the team. She's happy (and relieved) to have Mike Beretta's help as assistant editor; plus that of Tamsyn Rowley (co-editor of the CSA Handbook) to help improve the flow of information from the Univ. of Guelph, particularly with the Agro-Ecosystem Health Project there. Other members offered their help, and we hope we can soon put them to work too. Things are already looking better!

Copyright 1995 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


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