Over 30 people were on hand on Saturday for the first working community meeting for the Kingsbury Community Farm Project. The meeting was held at the farm and accomplished several tasks and objectives.First, the group established an organizational structure that includes a committee of nine people who will meet on a regular basis to develop a process for determining the ultimate ownership of the property and an advisory group which anyone from the community can join. The role of the advisory group is to provide input to the committee on the future use of the farm and to participate in future community meetings. The second order of business was to agree on the vision, mission, and guidelines for the project.
A large portion of the meeting was spent sorting through over 110 ideas for the farm that had been offered by community members over the past few months. Small groups prioritized the ideas that were broken into categories of agricultural uses, educational uses, recreational and community uses, and energy, housing and alternative uses. One thing that was important to all groups is that the farm be a community-centered operation. Details of the prioritization exercise can be found at the Kingsbury Community Farm website at www.KingsburyCommunityFarm.org.
During most of the meeting the group had been focused on the end result of the project or what the farm would ultimately become. The meeting wrapped up with a discussion of possible ownership models which changed the focus of the meeting from the end result to the means to achieve those results. Four ownership scenarios were presented: a single farmer-owner; a limited liability corporation (LLC); a co-op; and a community land trust. While there was some discussion about all four options, no decisions were made as far as the preferred ownership structure. More information about these ownership options is available on the Kingsbury Community Farm website.
Next steps for the farm project include a meeting with consultants who will recommend approaches to best preserve the river corridor that borders the Kingsbury Community Farm property and the development of a proposal process that will be used to determine the future ownership of the farm. The committee is also waiting for a final appraisal of the farm's conserved value which should be available in early February. When the property was temporarily purchased in November by the Vermont Land Trust, there was an agreement that a plan for how the property will be resold would be in place by May and the actual transfer of the property would take place no later than December 2008. The project is still on track to meet those deadlines.
For more information on the Kingsbury Community Farm or to received e-mail updates, please visit www.KingsburyCommunityFarm.org .