March 22, 2021
Attendees: Ethan Gilsdorf, Sophie Wendelken, Jill Caslowitz, Greg Gerritt, Michael McGlynn, Martha Fraenkel, Lesley Bogad, Jess Porter, Michael Bradlee, Lisa Rigby, Lauren Boucher, Anna Klevak, Giorgio Cocomello, Paul Oeser, Read Porter, Melissa DuBose, Wendy Godek
Jess Porter called the meeting to order and announced that the meeting would include live transcription.
Jess introduced the slate of proposed officers as identified on the agenda.
Co-Chairs: Martha Fraenkel and Michael McGlynn
Vice Chair: Michael Bradlee
Treasurer: Annie Voss Altman
At-large members: Greg Gerritt, Melissa DuBose, Wendy Godek, Sophie Wendelken
No nominations or changes were proposed by attendees and the slate of officers was approved through a vote. Jess noted that if anyone is interested in the vacant position or joining the Steering Committee as an at-large member, they can get in touch with the Steering Committee.
Jess provided the Treasurer’s report on behalf of Annie Voss-Altman. She noted that funds from past years’ garden dues are available. These are typically held for events. The garden also has some funds remaining from a Miriam Hospital grant to the garden for capital improvements. Overall, the garden is in good financial shape.
Several garden updates were provided:
- Anna Klevak will continue as garden manager this year. If you need to get in touch with Anna, contact the garden email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The garden fee will stay the same at $30 this year. Gardeners will have the option to donate to the Garden Scholarship fund again this year. The scholarship fund is open to anyone in need of financial assistance to cover the garden dues. Gardeners can email email@example.com for more information.
- Michael Bradlee provided updates on the compost system. The system has been installed. Training will be offered to all gardeners on how to access and use the system, including adding and mixing compost and performing general upkeep. Michael also plans to produce some training videos. A smaller group of compost champions can also receive more in-depth training on the care of a compost system, to help build the garden’s institutional knowledge. Training will aim to cover best practices and help ensure that the compost system is healthy, complies with applicable standards, and doesn’t attract pests. Michael will share more information about training opportunities, or people can reach out to him directly. The goal is for gardeners to be able to use the compost in their plots when ready.
- Michael McGlynn made a new sign for the garden, which is now hanging on the east-facing fence.
- Jess provided an update on current plans for the remaining Miriam grant funding. Read Porter has been in touch with the Parks Department about procuring two new, decorative trash cans for the playground area of the park. This project was temporarily paused during the COVID-19 response, but we plan to follow up. The Steering Committee has also discussed using some funding to install some edging around the berry bushes in the park, to help protect the plants. It was noted that this plan should be run by the Parks Department. If anyone is interested in helping with edging, let the Steering Committee know. Anna noted that we may also need some soil and mulch for the berry bushes. Jess noted that anyone is welcome to suggest additional ideas for the park or garden. Funds may be available.
- Jess provided an update on the Spring Cleanup/Providence Earth Day Celebration: This year, the City will organize a set of socially distanced activities in lieu of its typical single-day/weekend cleanup. The Steering Committee would like to organize something around this time to help prepare the garden for the season and will reach out to gardeners with more information, including plans to conduct this work safely.
- Martha Fraenkel shared that wood chips should be delivered this week. We will likely leave some buckets in the garden for people to help spread them around. The City will deliver one load at a time but can bring more as needed. We will share information once the chips are delivered.
- Jess provided updates related to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. We have not received any new updates yet about COVID-19 policies for this season, though we were asked to develop specific plans last year. We will likely have more information to share soon. For now, everyone should continue to wear masks and limit the number of gardeners in the garden at one time. We will have some sanitizing wipes available as well.
Jess opened the floor for additional discussion and other business.
Anna mentioned contracts and dues. Updated contracts, rules, and policies and procedures will be sent out soon and posted to the website. People will have the option of paying online this year or with cash/check, which can be arranged with Anna or Annie.
Lesley Bogad asked about the combination lock and access to the shed. Jess noted that we closed the shed last year based on COVID-19 guidance from Parks, but will open the shed this season. The lock has been changed back to its original combination.
Melissa DuBose asked about whether supplies and items placed in the shed are considered communal. Jess confirmed that anything in the shed is available for anyone’s use. We ask that people return tools and other items to the shed when they are finished using them.
Giorgio Cocomello mentioned he has extra seeds to share if anyone is interested. Jess noted that people can use the Google group email to reach out to gardeners about seed sharing and other topics. There are also some seed packets in the shed if anyone is interested. We could consider making a box available for people to leave seed packets for others.
Wendy Godek mentioned that the Southside Committee Land Trust is holding a virtual plant sale again this year, starting on May 10.
Greg Gerritt noted that his bed is very full of soil. If anyone needs some soil, you can reach out to Greg.
Anna mentioned that Eugene Sorkin and Greg have been working to reinforce the beds in the garden that are bowing out.
Lesley asked if it’s okay to put some edging near where we typically plant sunflowers; everyone was in agreement with that.
Sophie Wendelken brought up the garden steward schedule. We are planning to reinstate the schedule this year. Everyone will be assigned to a week to help maintain the garden, water berry bushes, and help care for people’s plots as needed. Anna will send a spring email with information about this and other updates.
Michael Bradlee thanked Jess and Read for their leadership on the Steering Committee, as both are stepping down this year.
Jess thanked everyone and closed the meeting.