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New group assumes management of Greenbank Farm

"The Board of Directors of the Greenbank Farm Management Group set the groundwork for revamping operating policies and procedures for the farm Thursday, during its first meeting since the Port of Coupeville accepted its new agreement. In addition, the board voted to appoint officers and to ratify the amended agreement with the Port.Farm Executive Director Laura Blankenship provided a detailed report on actions already underway or planned for operation of the farm, including staffing, events, retail, fund development and facilities. She is actively pursuing grants and fund-raising opportunities, as well as developing a plan for repairs to the farm's buildings and infrastructure.The Agricultural Committee provided a presentation of the crops planned for the farm for this growing season. This season will be used for soil-building, which will include crops such as buckwheat that will be tilled back into the soil. In addition, crops such as sweet peas will be planted for a U-Pick area, where the public can pick their own for a small fee. Revenue from U-Pick will help offset some of the costs of planting and maintaining the fields. Pretty crops such as pumpkin and squash will be put in for their aesthetic qualities to enhance visitors' experience. Sunflowers will be visible from the road.Randy Weers, elected to the Board during this session, provided a report on the farm's websites. Weers offered information and recommendations for both online retailing and a separate site for news and information related to the not-for-profit side of the operation. Retailing will be on the Internet at www.greenbankfarm.com, and the not-for-profit entity will be found at www.greenbankfarm.org.The Board touched on a few key concepts during the meeting. Knutila raised the point that the Board will aim to market the farm with the community concept, to validate the framework of (the) agreement, with the Port. Blankenship stated, The Port is depending on the Board to make recommendations to the Port on the use of the farm. The teamwork concept was readily noticed by Franc Sawatzki, who attended the meeting and actively participated with his ideas. Sawatzki had provided the competing proposal to the Port, which was turned down in favor of the agreement with GFMG at the Port Commission meeting on February 14. I see a team here, Sawatzki happily commented.This is beautiful, commented Sara Birger, adding that she has been to many GFMG Board meetings over the years, and this is the first that demonstrated such a positive, teamwork attitude.The unanimously-approved slate of officers included Charlie Knutila, president; Marcia Comer, secretary; Clark Harvey, first vice president; and Greg Osenbach, second vice president. The treasurer slot remains open, with the search continuing for a candidate with a background in finance. The Port requires we give them a budget shortly, stated Knutila, so we would like to have a treasurer, as soon as possible. In the interim, Comer is performing treasurer duties.Harvey explained the amended part-lease, part-management contract with the Port, adding that it was already signed by both the Port commission and Knutila. It (the amended agreement) is really in line with what we originally proposed, Clark stated. The Board voted unanimously for ratification. "

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