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The Intervale Center: Final Presentation


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The Intervale Center: Final Presentation

  1. 1. TH E INTE RVALE C ENTE R • By Katie O’Connor, Mark Weber & Jackie LeBlanc
  2. 2. BA CKG ROUND • Began in 1988 • Manage 350 acres of land • Mission: Develop farm- and land- based enterprises that generate economic and social opportunity while protecting natural resources.
  3. 3. F IN ANC I AL S
  4. 4. FAR MS P RO G R AM • Founded 1990 • Leases land, equipment, greenhouses, irrigation and storage facilities to small independent farms • 12 farms produce 10% of Burlington’s fresh • Removes start-up barriers produce on 120 acres of that typically challenge land and contribute 60 new farmers: access to full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs to the training, land, capital and Burlington economy markets; knowledge of equipment operation and maintenance; isolation
  5. 5. SU C C ES S ON FAR MS • 2-year business planning program to improve farm viability through one-on-one work with selected farmers throughout state “I’m always finding ways to be a better • Seeks to enhance farmer, but the program helped me to identify and improve on the weaknesses profitability & social and that I would not pursue on my own, like !" environmental bookkeeping and budgets. When you start )*+,&-"%.($%% putting the pen to paper, everything looks sustainability !"##$%&'($%'&)*+',$%-',.+'#%$/*01 different.” • Worked with 22 farms — James Elworthy, Liberty Farm !"#$%&'(&)*%+,-.,-/%(&)*%01%23 230034%+&4$345%260%073%841/4&$% 73'83.%$3%01%,.3-0,+)%&-.%,$841 1-%073%(3&:-3**3*%07&0%"%(16'.
  6. 6. INTE RVALE FO OD H U B • Began in 2007 • Connects farmers to markets to increase farm profitability and local food access • June 2008: multi-farm CSA program launched • Addresses need to winter storage • Offers local brokerage services • Grew 85% in 2009, • Partners with 24 farmers to reach 200 • CSA members and 16 local businesses
  7. 7. INTE R VA LE C O N S E R VAT ION N U R S E RY • Began in 2002 • Grows native riparian trees and shrubs for conservation projects statewide • Collaborate with public and private nonprofits organizations • Offer info workshops • 25,000 “stems” refurbishing and estimated 37.5 acres
  8. 8. INTE RVALE LAND STE WAR DSH I P • Calkins Farmstead: 1860’s farmhouse, community bard, circa-1920 dairy barn, 1850 English barn, corn crib • Center for experiential learning • Includes link to donate money or volunteer time
  9. 9. C OM M U N I T Y C O N N E CT ION S • Gleaning project with Vermont Foodbank to provide over 30,000 pounds of produce • Abenaki traditional garden • Burlington School food Healthy City Youth project 2002-2009
  10. 10. C ON S U LT IN G A N D R E SEAR CH • Technical assistance and resources to organization seeking to replicate programs: tours, speaking, extended visits, travel to client sites, hotline support, resource materials • 2007 Producer Survey: “farmer survey to determine the challenges and opportunities available in agricultural production and marketing in Chittenden and the five surrounding counties.”
  11. 11. T H E B OA R D Edward Antczak CEDO, City of Burlington Kalisa Barratt Attorney-at-Law • 4-6 committees: some are just board Scott Buckingham Secretary/ Treasurer, High Rock Consulting members, some are Tom Hudspeth Environmental Studies, University of Vermont combination with staff Charles G. Lief Chair, The Hartland Group and/or farmers Clem Nilan City Market/Onion River Coop • Baseline expectations Tom Nold Shelburne Farms of board members: Nancy Owens Housing Vermont participate in one Marissa Parisi Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger committee, attend Greg Strong Spring Hill Solutions, LLC meetings; fundraising Mary Sullivan Burlington Electric Department is expected but not Thomas G. Walsh, Esq. Vice Chair, Walsh Law, LLC clearly-articulated in Will Raap Gardener's Supply Company terms of amounts • When an opening occurs, board members develop a roster of candidates, looks for needs in creating a balanced group (both skills and fundraising ability.) At 12 now, aiming for 14. • Previously board was directed by ED but that is now changing through the strategic planning process, board realizes they need to “step up”
  12. 12. Board of Directors Charles G. Lief (chair) Will Raap Kalisa Barratt Tom Nold (Shelburne Marissa Parisi (VT Mary Sullivan Farms) Campaign) Tom Hudspeth Thomas G. Walsh (vice) Edward Antczak Scott Buckingham Nancy Owens Greg Strong Clem Nilan Executive Director Finance & Accounting Director of Consulting and Manager Director of Land Stewardship Programs Conser vation Community Development Food Hub Food Hub Success Nursery Connections Coordinator Manager Coordinator on Farms Manager Coordinator Manager Conser vation Program Nursery Field Associate Technician
  13. 13. AD VO CATE AND SE RV E Advocacy through third party relationships The Compost Dilemma USDA Farm to Plate Council on Sustainable Burlington Development Burlington School Food Project Food Council
  14. 14. FA R M S IN VOLV ED ~ Adam’s Berry Farm ~ Mount Mansfield Creamery ~AH Mushrooms ~Old Stillhouse Farm ~Arethusa Farm ~Sugarworks ~Bella Farm ~Open Heart Farm ~Brotherly Farm ~Pitchfork Farm ~Champlain Orchards ~River Berry Farm ~Does’ Leap Farm ~Rockville Market Farm ~Dragonfly ~Screamin’ Ridge Farm ~Farm Between ~Stray Cat Farm ~Hazendale Farm ~Sugarsnap Farm ~Jericho Settlers Farm ~Valley Dream Farm ~Maple Wind Farm ~Willow Hill Farm ~Maplewood Organics
  15. 15. AD VO CATE AND SE RV E This is something I don’t think we’ve done in the past. But it is something that we have been talking about, trying to decide if advocacy is part of the IC activities. A lot of employees seem to advocate on issues close to the IC in their personal life, through other groups or organizations. Our service programs are direct and relatively obvious. We look to influencing policy through a number of venues. We are active participants in the state sponsored strategic planning work of Farm2Plate, offering up a great deal of staff time to both participate and help facilitate. We participate formally through my appointment to the Council of Sustainable Agriculture chaired by the Secretary of Agriculture The Intervale succeeds greatly at serving businesses and the community, and is satisfactory at advocacy. It works along side many groups who are heavily involved with advocacy, and creates change through the number of voters that they provide service for. However, there is little to no real advocacy on organization’s part directly.
  16. 16. M AK E M AR K ETS WOR K ๏ Consulting Triple Bottom Line: ๏ Conser vation 1. Profitability Nursery ๏ Farm 2. Environmental Incubator Sustainability Program 3. Social responsibility High premium on financial sustainability 50/50 Plan Why Buy Local? ๏ Community Economy Supported Agriculture Program Small farms ๏ Food Hub Health Environment
  17. 17. M AK E M AR K ETS WOR K “We definitely have a more pro-profit, corporate view here. A lot of emphasis is paid to financial self-sufficiency for programs which is something that is a first for me in my nonprofit life. Our Intervale Food Hub (CSA and wholesale activities) is a perfect example. Having said that, we do rely on grants for a lot of programs, although there has been an effort in the last year to expand our corporate outreach and find corporate sponsors. I think that the IC’s attention towards focusing on financially sustainable (and profitable programs) is unique compare to other nonprofits I have worked for or with.” The work we do on food systems is very much about building a parallel food system, alongside the existing system that we should replace at some time. The Intervale is very successful at making markets work. They do market research; service markets for farmers, businesses and consumers; work along side other businesses to create change (i.e. Compost)
  18. 18. IN SP I R E E VANG E LI STS “Thursdays at the Intervale” draws over 2,000 people throughout the summer Community Supported Extensive Agriculture recreation areas (CSA’s)
  19. 19. IN SP I R E E VANG E LI STS We have a huge volunteer base and while we do see them sometimes as free labor, we also realize that certain programs wouldn’t be able to function with out them (Gleaning, for example). We also see them, especially those at UVM and in corporate volunteer programs, as great Intervale ambassadors for our programs. The problem with volunteers at the IC is that they mostly work in two program areas- Conservation Nursery and Gleaning (although there we also use them at our Abenaki garden and Thursdays at the Intervale). So although they are great ambassadors for the organizations, their understanding of the organization’s scope is limited. As a result, many people only know about gleaning and the Conservation Nursery, even though we have several other programs. Because of the physical nature of our place, where you can see a lot of this work we tend to get a lot of visitors and we can more easily paint a picture of what can work for people. The Intervale does a great job getting their name out in the community in a positive way, but do not do as well with cohesive branding of their programs. The IC could also tell their story better nationally to gain more media attention and get national acclaim the way that the Hardwick area has.
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
  21. 21. N U RT U R E NO N P R O F I T N E T WO R K S We are huge advocates for partnerships which is something I love about the Intervale. We don’t hoard our expertise, and we don’t do things other could do better. In gleaning we have a multitude of partnerships, both formal and informal. I think this is one of the IC’s greatest strengths. Vermont, in many ways because of its small size both requires and allows for robust collaborations. If we are to take local food system models that have meaning for the world we have got to be able to talk about them as Vermont regional models not the Intervale model. This can be seen in many fields, not just food and farming. The Intervale center is very much involved in a number of collaborative networks and projects from the New Farmer Network and NOFA-VT, to collaborative planning (Farm2Plate), to official state councils (Sustainable Agriculture Council) to business / economic development networks (Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility), to collaborations of regional food centers from throughout the state. All of them are good in their own right but we actively participate because they give real value for our work, connection to the community, to influence and to funding. The IC works well with local organizations to further their cause. They don’t try to “do everything”, but instead they focus on what they do well, and support other organizations that complement their mission in other ways.
  22. 22. M A STE R ADAP TAT ION Although I have only been here a short while, I think we could do better on this. I think the Board and management team are in the process of creating a new strategic plan, which will help clarify the most appropriate mission, vision and goals for the org. We are currently in the process of adapting so it’s difficult to say how it will turn out in the end. The IC has certainly walked down its share of dead ends. But this is an essential ingredient in innovations. If you are only willing to do what is likely to work, you won’t stray far from a baseline. Compost was the original innovation and precedes the organization. It was crafted as a remediation project to restore degraded farmland in the Intervale and put more organic material back into the soils. The project was rotated around the Intervale to restored different fields. Starting in the late 1980s it was on the cusp of community composting projects. It tested a variety of techniques and technologies. It moved from remediation to a community service to a full blown solid waste management projects. It developed from a service to an enterprise. At some point it became less mission- centric...At another point it became a financial liability, and then a regulatory liability...When I came to the organization, it was already recognized that we needed to divest ourselves of the project. The problem was how to do it in a manner that allowed for continuity of service and preserved the jobs of the five employees working there...The Health City program was another such innovation. As a youth empowerment program through farm and food experience it was a great project with excellent results. But it was also very much a program of the heart – one person’s vision, not an organizational vision or core strategy. It was all grant dependent. It was not mission central. Again we determined that the program needed to have a different home for it to prosper, and we built a partnership with another organization... Many times recognizing what you do not do is just as important as recognizing and emphasizing what you do. Our biggest innovations focus on our work in supporting farms and farming. We very much work with a collaborative model. Glenn’s “visionary” approach is very geared toward the art of adaptation. He sees the whole Intervale as an experiment, full of “interesting but fun challenges.” Looking to a different direction to scale up, expanding to new locations (“mini-Vales.”) Lessons of Intervale Compost lead to a more cautionary approach.
  23. 23. SHAR E LEADE RSH I P I like how we run by a management team- the ED, Director of Programs, Finance person, and Director of Consulting and Land Stewardship. I think it is great because decisions are made collectively, making them better decisions overall. I am not sure I can speak to my own charisma (or lack thereof). I have been working on a broader shared management structure with three other managers to try and create more of a two level flatter organization to spread out information flow, access to decision level discussion and strategic planning. Through network building I am a strong advocate of collaborative networks both of “like” and “unlike” organizations. Eight organizations (regional food centers in Vermont) got together last year for an extended joint working session over 6 months to look at building a common network identity. These included nascent projects as well as well established and long term organizations; staffed and unstaffed organizations. It was a struggle to spread out leadership and that discussion is still continuing as a joint conversation going forward. I have a strong belief that future viable organizations will be network-centric.  Our work internally is to try and define the work that we do as professional, as career building, and as something that one could see as a long term effort. This is a bit difficult to do given the uncertain economics of it all. Very collaborative approach to decision-making: best example is land committee which decides on tenants, which includes staff, board members and farmers. Sara expressed that she would like more central direction. Glenn seems to be dragging his feet on the Food Processing Center – perhaps better consensus and clearer direction is needed.
  24. 24. R EC OMM ENDAT ION S Advocate and Serve: Begin to focus on Make Markets Work: Continue their advocacy to expand on a more national/ successful approach to the markets, and global change toward local food and influence greater change through example. community sustainability Inspire Evangelists: The Intervale does a Nurture Nonprofit Networks:The IC works great job getting their name out in the well with local organizations to further their community in a positive way, but do not do as cause. They don’t try to “do everything”, but well with cohesive branding of their programs. instead they focus on what they do well, and The IC could also tell their story better support other organizations that complement nationally to gain more media attention and get their mission in other ways. national acclaim the way that the Hardwick area has. Share Leadership: Very collaborative Master the Art of Adaptation: Glenn’s approach to decision-making: best example is “visionary” approach is very geared toward land committee which decides on tenants, the art of adaptation. He sees the whole which includes staff, board members and Intervale as an experiment, full of “interesting farmers. Sara expressed that she would like but fun challenges.” Looking to a different more central direction. Glenn seems to be direction to scale up, expanding to new dragging his feet on the Food Processing locations (“mini-Vales.”) Lessons of Intervale Center – perhaps better consensus and clearer Compost lead to a more cautionary approach. direction is needed.