Saturday, May 10, 2008

Visioning notes from last year

Damian has provided the archives for SSA meeting notes dating way back in the day to 2004. I'm still figuring out a way to put them as archives on this site. In the meantime, this might be something good to read over and keep in mind for our visioning meeting next Monday (5.19.08). Things to think about: what have we accomplished? what should we continue to work on? what should we not? should we be celebrating and partying and having more fun together? what are some things we should work on for next year?

"SSA notes continued: SSA Visioning Retreat Session 10/14/07

Members present: (???)


Stimulate innovative & accessible public outreach to community:

-Does our name SSA limit our scope and our reach? Other people might see us as being focused on “ag” while we see ourselves as having a bigger scope. i.e. people are not really concerned about “local” in food, more concerned about “social justice”- so we need to think about this in our framing let’s follow up on this- framing & language

Facilitating discussion among diverse viewpoints & perspectives

-Last year’s social justice in sustainable ag lecture, Dori’s seminar on GE foods, panel on affordability of organics, radio station, Alt Ag seminar….

Dealing with affiliations- more official liaisons to communicate back & forth

-Farm tours- q&a forums

Supporting greater community of farmers, farm workers, and consumers

-Let’s add food system workers to this- “agriculture & food system workers”

-but this is really big- how far do you go?

-difference btw mission/vision and how we actually strategically engage-

-if we did nothing but advocate for CIRS & CAFF we’d have a lot of good work to do

-more visibility of good student work.

-this point is tied to local knowledge, outreach, the idea that the university is not necessarily the experts.

-physically supporting- working on farms

furthering above stated goals/mission/objectives in greater community instead of being an objective in itself- this principle speaks to sphere of influence

Overall mission thoughts: Does this speak to our mission?

-It’s only meaningful with the bullet points- our one sentence mission is not meaningful by itself.

-First sentence of mission is important to give a few parameters

-We should develop a values statement- explicitly say what we are acknowledging implicitly


Integrate w/student farm

Broaden our conversation

Integrate production/food system

Keep things interdisciplinary

Outreach to greater community

Dealing with affiliations


Visual history

Farm tours

Presenting our work

Organization Building:

-Meetings used to have: Meals, facilitator, notetaker, consensual decision process, notes are circulated. DP experience: meetings would have some discussion & those most interested would take lead, other people would sign on to work on it, they’d do logistics outside the meeting. Then people report back at meeting as to what they’ve been doing, checkin, decisions are made at group. Meetings are more reporting on projects, not working on projects with entire group. Like a steering committee.

-SSA is kind of like a sounding/advisory board- lets people work on what they’re interested in and report back on what they’re doing- not about process of particular projects.

-It’s an affiliation- communication, social relations-

-Process: do we make action teams for the year? – not all at once-- meeting is continual process of reporting back.

-Scale—do we have enough people to do it? – it’s a communication issue, doesn’t matter how many people. Mtg is about concise communication- details come later.

-this works well but can’t be super rigid- burnout factor of ppl working on multiple projects- mtgs can be a place to introduce ideas & see who’s interested, depending on what topic is.

-letting people choose how much to become involved- whether/how much to work on projects- ppl can come just for dinner. Retentionà having short meetings.

-lets continue doing it this way.

-What groups do we have now:

--asi liaisons


--local dirt

--undergrad major/curriculum building

--event planning

--tours, field trips organizing

--outreach**this should be a committee of its own- having a standing committee of this would be good.

(we used to have a recruitment committee- it’s not that fun says KR)- maybe recruitment is a part of outreach

-3 arms: keeping this balance in everything

--Website as part of outreach! It needs help/ maintenece- logistics are falling to wayside

--PR/communications committee

-do we want to separate 3 arms or integrate each into everything? How to deal with integrating action/education/fun? Value statement?

Visioning mtgs are impt- will it happen again, how to make sure it does and renew knowledge of how we operate on a yearly basis?—we agree to address this annually at least—probably again in January.

** wrapup: at each meeting, choose a facilitator & notetaker for next mtg. Facilitator starts an agenda for the mtg and sends out an email, notetaker sends out notes. This is how it works.**

Undergrad major/ASI: report on history and state of affairs:

-in 2003, committees were formed, reports re: what is UCD doing for sustAg? Bradford reports- proposed undergrad major and ASI. Since then, SSA people have been on curriculum development committee. Research to bring in stakeholders’ voices (academics from around country, farmers, practitioners, students) – reflects what’s going on in sustainable ag education. ASI developing simultaneously- hiring new faculty in different disciplines. SSA has helped with search committees to advance our mission statement. Most faculty are onboard, curriculum is being developed. Looking forward: it’s a huge opportunity for SSA- to get more people on board. Curriculum could have a lot of what we do, but as a formal process—opportunity for activism being acknowledged as “credible” learning- getting beyond positivistic views of university. – action learning as part of curriculum.


Alida is the liason to ASI and attended the strategic planning meetings for ASI. ASI sees SSA as a key stakeholder group that they want to engage. It’s important for us to maintain our autonomy from ASI. That’ll be a delicate balance for us to handle in these formative years of ASI. We need to balance our activism and work relationships with ASI faculty, so that our representation with ASI remains respected. ASI will probably not actively seek out our input, but we have support within that institute if we want to give input. Damian suggests that we democratize our ASI and other organizational representation – that is, we demand that ASI always has student representation for their various committees and that students elect those representatives. There is a potential conflict of interest with students who are both employed by ASI and serve as student representatives. Although power dynamics will exist within these student-ASI relationships regardless of employment. This year, we need to decide what relationship and representation we want and what it will look like (including specifications). We should look at the history of the formation of SAREP to understand some of the issues of inequality that resulted in litigation and legislation to create SAREP and other concessions. Important for SSA to be involved because the research that ASI puts out will influence and define the sustainable ag agenda. There’s great possibility that issues of social structural inequality will not be addressed by the faculty, but could be if student voice is a part of that. An SSA representative will advise the student committee (made of ~ 6 members – 2 from each of UCD’s colleges).

· Action Item: Create the student committee of ASI with help from Tom Tomich.

· Action Item: Plan a long conversation/dinner meeting of the history of SAREP and themes of cooptation and concessions – Alida and Damian.


What should that relationship look like? We have an invitation from Sodexho to play a supporting role with their farm-to-college night. We can have a discussion about what involvement to have at the next meeting. Danielle thinks that we should continue to work with them because the University is who is responsible for employment policy, not Sodexho itself. Can we be involved and still represent our position on employment? Can we team up with SOC to table a"

it kind of ends there, but i hope you guys found this as helpful as i did!


1 comment:

Dani Lee said...

This is really great to work off of. I really hope that we can get some of the people that were more active during the fall and winter quarters to come out and voice their opinions on if they feel that these goals/missions/ideas were accomplished.

Great job!