Last Thursday AERO’s Ag Task Force convened at the Timeless Seeds plant in Ulm to get up-to-speed on AERO’s current food & agriculture projects and help shape our work in the future. Over a delicious potluck of local food, these farmers, entrepreneurs, partner organizations, and state agency staff shared their ideas for the direction of AERO’s Food & Ag Program. AERO’s Energy and Ag Task Forces function as an intermediary between the organization’s membership, the greater community, and the AERO staff and board. They serve to translate community ideas, concerns, and desires into tangible policies and programs.
At this meeting, the Ag Task Force proposed numerous sites to explore for AERO’s 2011 farm tours, including oilseed producers on the Hi-Line and direct marketing vegetable producers in the Bitterroot. They identified potential topics and speakers for AERO’s Specialty Crops Conference that include value-added processing, opportunities for policy change, and transitioning old farms to new owners committed to keeping the land in agriculture. The Specialty Crops Conference is being planned for mid November of this year – with more information to come! This meeting also provided many Ag Task Force members with an opportunity to meet their new Chair – Eric Bergman of Groundworks Farm, as well as AERO’s new Energy Program Manager Sarah Lesnar. These Ag Task Force members also got some one-on-one time to visit with and welcome our new Executive Director Bryan von Lossberg while at the same time celebrating the longtime commitment and contributions that outgoing Executive Director Jonda Crosby has given AERO over the years.
Most importantly, the members visited with each other about which food and agricultural issues they are working through, and how AERO can help. The meeting was fun and successful in continuing to have on-the-ground folks guide AERO’s program work. If you would like to be added to the AERO Ag Task Force email list please contact Kevin at [email protected] or (406) 443-7272.