|MOFGA's Strategic Thinking sessions during the first week of August drew 124 individuals, including 44 farmers, to the Good Will-Hinckley School in Hinckley, Maine.
Status of the Conversation About MOFGA Planning
Thank you to all who joined us in 2015 to talk about MOFGA's Vision, Values, Mission and our strategic thinking.
There's still plenty of work ahead. In 2016, we'll develop a program activity road map, which will guide us into the year 2021. MOFGA staff, working with Board Committees, the Strategic Plan Coordinating Group, and MOFGA's Board of Directors, will craft Goals and Objectives for the organization and its various departments. These Goals and Objectives will be voted on by the Board and forwarded on to staff so action plans for implementation can be developed. We are working to bring plans to the Board for a final vote on June 5, 2016. This will enable the staff to develop action plans and apply them to budget planning for 2017 and beyond.
A few initial thoughts about MOFGA's Strategic Planning activities
To build on our outstanding reputation, valuable traditions, and our record of success, we dedicated much of 2015 to looking at ourselves and considering how best to carry our work forward. In light of changing food systems and changing attitudes, we want to maximize our relevance and effectiveness. Through membership meetings and surveys and many conversations we asked ourselves what is most important to us, what drives our work, and what effect we want to have on our communities. We expect this work to result in formal statements of MOFGA's values, vision and mission in 2016. We will use these guiding ideas to develop the organization's next strategic plan, with specific goals, objectives and actions to focus our work.
Our Discussions So Far
MOFGA's Strategic Thinking sessions during the first week of August 2015 drew 124 individuals, including 44 farmers, to the Good Will-Hinckley School in Hinckley, Maine. During four separate three-hour conversations, participants shared their thoughts on a set of key questions aimed at helping the organization identify and talk about our long-term vision, the values that motivate our members, and our mission..
|Group discussion at a planning session in Fairfield.
The questions participants addressed were:
- What does MOFGA mean to you?
- Why do we do this work?
- If MOFGA were as effective as we could imagine, how would we be different?
- What would absolute success look like?
Responses to these key questions were as varied as the MOFGA membership, and all four sessions generated heartfelt responses. Thanks to the facilitation efforts of Good Group Decisions, we have a draft report of the proceedings available for review. This report is downloadable, and we hope you'll take this opportunity to read it in full..
Additional Steps in the Strategic Thinking Process
On August 31, 2015, we convened the first of two All Representatives Group meetings.
Participants at each of the facilitated conversations elected two representatives who attended two All Representatives Group meetings. The focus of the August 31 meeting was to achieve shared understanding of what we learned in the early August input meetings and to identify consensus on emerging elements of the Vision and Values. We also worked to identify "key questions to be resolved" to help inform development of a broad membership survey that was conducted between September 15 and September 30, 2015.
|Kerri Sands (left) and Craig Freshley of Good Group Decisions recorded ideas and themes at a Fairfield planning session.
Here's who is involved in the All Representatives Group:
The 21-member All Representatives Group consists of the elected representatives from each meeting (8), all members of the Strategic Plan Coordinating Group (8), and MOFGA's Program Directors (5).
Elected Representatives include:
Robert "Haas" Tobey – member of Maine Heritage Orchard Committee
Annie Sheble – long-time MOFGA member and coordinator of the Children's Area at the Common Ground Country Fair
Galen Young – chair of MOFGA's Penobscot Chapter
Heather Omand – MOFGA's Organic Marketing and Business Coordinator
Eli Berry – chair of MOFGA's Fair Steering Committee
Michial Russell – farm manager at Pearson's Town Farm Project at Saint Joseph's College
Bob Lenna – member of MOFGA Certification Services Management Committee
Christine Bolton-Pistole – co-owner of Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants, certified organic processor
Strategic Plan Coordinating Group includes:
Alice Percy – MOFGA Board President, certified organic farmer
David Shipman – MOFGA Board Vice-President, coordinator of Organic Growers Supply at Fedco
Logan Johnston – MOFGA Board Treasurer, certified organic farmer
Beth Schiller – MOFGA Board member, certified organic farmer
Ted Quaday – MOFGA Executive Director
Heather Spalding – MOFGA Deputy Director
Chris Hamilton – MOFGA Associate Director, certified organic farmer
Daniel MacPhee – MOFGA Educational Programs Director, certified organic farmer
Additional MOFGA Program Directors include:
Dave Colson – Agricultural Services Director, certified organic farmer
Mary Yurlina – Certification Services Director
April Boucher – Common Ground Country Fair Director
Jason Tessier – Buildings & Grounds Director
Janice Clark – Finance Administrator
A second All Representatives meeting took place on October 13. At that meeting the planning group reviewed survey data and staff analysis and developed draft statements of Vision, Values, and Mission. The Strategic Plan Coordinating Group met on November 3 to finalize proposed statements for Board consideration. The Board discussed most of the recommendations at a regular Board meeting on December 6, and recommended slight adjustments to MOFGA’s Mission Statement. The Board opted to continue discussing a proposed Values Statement and deferred action on a proposed organizational Vision Statement. In addition, rather than approve the Board recommendation on slight adjustments to MOFGA’s existing Mission statement, MOFGA members, at their annual meeting on January 12, 2016 in Augusta, voted to table the recommendation on Mission so that the organization could continue to refine the statement language.
The Strategic Plan Coordinating Group expects to use the organizational Mission Statement as it currently exists as a basis for strategic planning. It will craft a set of draft goals for the organization, and those draft ideas will be presented to the Board Committees for review and comment. The Committees will also be asked to draft a set of objectives for each of the Goals within its sphere of activity. Committees will meet during the January through April 2016 time frame to craft their recommendations on Goals and Objectives. Those recommendations will be returned to the Strategic Plan Coordinating Group for further action in April and May. Ultimately, the Goals and Objectives will be presented to the Board for formal action at the June 5, 2016 Board meeting.