President's report from Mark Barraclough
Before I begin today I would like to acknowledge the Yuin and Walbunja people, traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today.
This year marks the 13th year since incorporation of SAGE and together we have made real progress on our core vision to be part or a thriving, resilient and secure food community.
The last few years have been challenging but looking ahead, there is an air of optimism and opportunity to grasp and to continue to make a difference.
And despite the challenges we have still made progress this last year.
The big project completed was the implementation of our new website, emarket and membership software. As with these projects there is always teething problems but we are largely on top of all the issues now. Thank you to Trevor Moore, Sandra Makdessi and Cath Reilly for making it all happen.
The Farmers Market has continued to provide our community with local fresh food every Tuesday, however it has been at a greatly diminished level mostly due to the poor growing
conditions following the heavy rains. As a consequence, the committee reluctantly suspended the e-market and the employment of the Market Manager to contain our costs.
We also made representation to council who suspended our stall fees until Jan’23 in support of our financial situation and for this we are very appreciative.
We have mentioned in the past our desire to achieve Deductable Gift Recipient status. This would allow us to receive tax deductable donations. We are part the way there in achieving charitable status. The next step is to apply for DGR status after we vote today to amend our
constitution. Thank you Peter Heyward for guiding us through this process.
Regular visitors to the garden will have noticed that Pats has been working the commercial beds. This is of mutual benefit to us as a demonstration of a working farm model and to Pats as a supplement to her income and will continue for this coming season in exchange for
some maintenance duties.
I want to make special mention of the Community Food team, otherwise known as the Wednesday group. They are a very cohesive bunch who are focused on producing as much
produce as is possible out of the wicking beds, supplemented with citrus and rhubarb from time to time. They are now growing their own seedlings out at SSF under Joyce’s guidance.
This is a great integration. All the food produced is supplied to the local refuges and charities. Thank you and special thanks to Alda for leading the way.
The Education and Events team have had a relatively quiet year which is reflected in our income statements. Nevertheless they have put on some great events with 3 SAGE community events at the turn of the seasons plus around 25 catering events for various organisations. There were no workshops however these will be recommencing in Spring.
This last year grants have been had to come by, there’s plenty of money being handed out but generally they have very narrow and focused eligibility criteria which we have struggled to fit. However we have been successful with a clubs grant for $2800 to build composting
bins and last week with an FRRR grant for $50k. This will enable us to employ a consultant to develop robust business plans to ensure we deliver on our strategic plan.
During the year we were approached by Sydney Environment Institute to participate in their research project on Environmental Imaginaries and storytelling collectively imagining the
relationships between humans and the environment. Josh Gowers was appointed a fellow of the institute and with their researchers have conducted numerous interviews working across three sites in Australia and India, this project will: amplify such grounded and
transformative imaginaries; network communities involved in transformative action and enhance their capacity to communicate the systematic character of their approaches.
In other words tell our story. It is a very interesting project and we look forward to it
Wendy Jones and Adrian Cram have continued to maintain the SAGE garden despite the weather and with the help of a very small band of volunteers at the monthly working bee.
They keep the garden in top shape so thank you. I encourage you to reconnect with the monthly working bee, held on the 3rd Sunday of the month. They are fun and very social.
Wendy has decided to step down after 10 years and on behalf of the SAGE community we thank you for your contribution.
Stepping Stone Farm is a significant focus for us. The first interns, Shani and Josh graduated at the end of 2021 and both have continued to contribute, Shani as a supervisor of the EcoCrews and Josh in establishing a vegie garden at a local church.
We have been host to the EcoCrew providing much needed resources on the farm. The program is split into on-farm experience and tuition and off-farm cert 2 & 3 courses in various related disciplines. This program finishes in Nov’22 after which we intend to continue with interns who we’re in the process of recruiting now. Again volunteers have been the backbone of the farm, providing much needed support and labour. It is very much appreciated. We have also been very fortunate to have number of significant donations throughout the year, one is a Paperpot planter which significantly speeds up the seedling planting process, another is a bed preparation kit for the 4 wheeled tractor. It too will be a great efficiency improver. YLAD in Orange donated 2.2 tonnes of soil amendments which was very generous and much appreciated too. And Campbell Page through the EcoCrew program included in their funding model, an allowance for a poly tunnel and some soil amendments.The farm is in a very good position now to hit its financial targets but also to build on the education component of the program – growing more growers.
It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the contribution Joyce is making to this project. We are so fortunate for Joyce to be part of SSF and SAGE, her dedication and commitment knows no bounds.
I am stepping down this year and wish to thank my fellow committee members for your support and sage advice over the last 5 years. I’ve enjoyed the journey as President and look forward to supporting the next committee.
SAGE 2022 AGM Minutes
SAGE 2022 P&L
SAGE 2022 P&L by division
SAGE Treasurers Report 2021-2022