Food Security Update, Doodle Poll & Survey Link – July 27, 2011

July 19 Fundraising/Building Team Meeting Notes

Original report is here. We’re still working to schedule a meeting with Alan Sam at Borough Hall, to identify possible public plots for gardens – and we’re moving the nonprofit corporation process along too, drafting bylaws, connecting with an attorney. These are just more of the ideas that came up at the July 19 meeting. Claim one as your project today!

  • Convene a meeting of community & church garden managers to pool management information
  • A lot on East Beaver (near Hetzel) is owned by a congregation in Hollidaysburg. Contact them about using the land for gardens.
  • Free Farm stands would be cool.
  • Bill Sharp has budget-writing skills.
  • Waupelani lot behind Weis on Westerly Parkway is big enough to be a U-pick farm. Contact owners to pursue.
  • Several people are interested in working with the PSU film department and C-NET to make & distribute video messages.
  • It would be good to connect with international students, who are often interested in growing their own food – maybe matching them with landowners who want gardens but can’t garden themselves for physical or time reasons.
  • Community Harvest Feasts would be fun.
  • There are waiting lists for local community gardens.
  • Look into crowd funding of projects through Cogster, Kickstarter – Charlie Kain has a contact at Kickstarter who could help us plan a fundraising campaign.
  • St. Louis Bread Company (Panera) has an interesting non-profit pricing model “Pay What You Want.”
  • Discussion of Barnard Street building – Contact the owner. If she’s interested in negotiating rent or sale, start small, continue renovating and adding facilities and programs over time.
  • New Leaf may host events about potential for placemaking in State College, modeled on  Mark Lakeman’s work with City Repair in Portland, Oregon.
  • Kiva may be a fundraising resource.
  • Charlie Kain recently built a cob oven in Port Royal  at Gita Nagari Farm, would like to build more in State College area.
  • Hook up the downtown food security work with Dorothy Blair’s fall class.
  • Make T-shirts for food security supporters.

July 25 Needs Assessment/Mapping Team Meeting Notes

On July 25, the group discussed how to start the mapping project, whose goal is to put an interactive map of food security information on the web (placeholder page is here).

Which data should be highest priority for gathering, organizing and uploading into the map?

We made a list of 25 or so possible data sets, decided to conduct online survey to select top five priorities, meet again in two weeks to define the boundaries of the region covered by the food security project (region? county? Spring Creek watershed? 50-mile radius?) and review the survey results, identify potential information sources for each data set, and decide next steps.

Blog readers interested in attending the next meeting – to be held August 8, 9 or 10 – can fill out the Doodle Poll here, but the deadline to fill it out is noon July 28, for timely room reservation.

Data Sets included in the Survey to identify the top 5 priorities of survey participants.

  • Water sources
  • Farms – amount of acreage, in what crops/livestock, organic/conventional
  • Farmers Markets – months open, vendor types
  • Community Supported Agriculture farms
  • Farm wholesalers
  • Farm product auction
  • Edible seedling retailers
  • Retail seed suppliers
  • Seed-saving groups
  • Gardening support groups
  • Grocery stores
  • Health food stores
  • Open plots of land suitable for growing
  • Community gardens
  • Greenhouses/high tunnels (size, seasonal use)
  • Compost/manure sources
  • Community kitchens/canneries/slaughter facilities
  • Feed stores
  • Farm/garden supply stores
  • Tool repair businesses, blacksmiths
  • Food banks/SNAP programs
  • Church feeding programs/Meals on Wheels
  • Schools (where kids eat food)
  • Restaurants
  • Mobile food purveyors (carts & trailers)
  • Gardening education programs
  • Building materials suppliers and recyclers
  • Annual farm production data by food type
  • Annual food consumption data by food type
  • People with sustainability-relevant skills and knowledge

CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT THE SURVEY (one submission per computer/IP address. Survey will close at 11 p.m. August 7.)

Other ideas generated at the July 25 meeting:

  • Aikens Circle may be most likely spot for a pilot public garden.
  • Urbanfarmingguys in Kansas City developing interesting model
  • (Besides the Food Bank) Centre Volunteers in Medicine would have information about families in need of food support.
  • PASA/BuyFreshBuyLocal does a lot of marketing for farms, but they are already stretched thin, and food consumer advocacy in the Centre region is a void that needs to be filled.
  • Brochure about eating local & food security project would be a good idea, possibly as a CDT insert. If we drafted it by August 20, it could potentially go out to 800 local households in the fall Borough (door-to-door) outreach program.
  • Mallika Bose at Penn State has done research on food deserts, may have survey data and tools we could adapt.
  • Carolyn Sachs at Penn State (Rural Sociology & Women’s Studies) studies women, agriculture, rural poverty, may have survey data and tools we could adapt.
  • Ruth Mendum at Penn State studies seed saving.
  • International students may be very interested in gardening programs, and it may be a good way to connect them to their communities. Global Connections. International Friendship House.
  • Linda Tataliba at Food Bank, Dorothy Blair, Jenn Landry and Clare Hinrichs at Penn State, may also be good sources for data, especially pointers to food security studies that have already been done. Clare’s students also do projects, might be good to plan ahead and propose a project.
  • Gardens might make good service projects for high school and college students.
  • Program to match landless gardeners with non-gardening landowners would be a good idea.
  • Other cities and towns have community food policies, including goals like “By 2015, all residents will live within a half-mile of a community garden…by 2020, 20% of produce consumed locally will also be grown locally….” Such a policy would have a good chance of being passed by the current State College Borough Council.

On the Needs Assessment piece of the puzzle – studies should include public surveys asking questions like:  

  • Do you have access to the quality of food you’d like to be eating?
  • Would it enrich your neighborhood to have a community garden?
  • Would you grow food at a neighborhood garden if there were one in your neighborhood?
  • Do you know how to cook fresh garden produce?
  • If not, are you interested in learning?
  • What setting would be most comfortable for learning?
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