Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

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Updating and Revising MOFGA’s Bylaws

Notice of MOFGA Special Membership Meeting

Agenda: Vote to adopt updated bylaws as proposed by MOFGA's board

November 3, 7 p.m., 2019
Hedges Hall
Point Lookout
67 Atlantic Hwy.
Northport, ME 04849

September 1, 2019

MOFGA’s board of directors has been working for the last several years to update the organization’s bylaws to reflect how MOFGA works today. Proposed changes are coming to the membership for a formal vote at a special meeting at the Farmer to Farmer conference at Point Lookout in Northport on Sunday, November 3 at 7 p.m. This article is meant to provide background on why the changes are being proposed and what they mean for MOFGA.

The bylaws are the internal governing guidelines that help delineate how the board, volunteers and staff work together to accomplish our mission and collective vision for MOFGA. They had not been thoroughly reviewed and revised in a while. Staff and the board believed it was important to update the bylaws to reflect how MOFGA has grown over the years and to strengthen the organization. A group of board members was charged with examining our internal governance practices and revising the bylaws with these goals:

  • Clearly defining the role of board members, staff and volunteers;
  • Clearly empowering staff and committees to carry out the major day-to-day work of MOFGA;
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of the organization;
  • Making MOFGA even more inclusive and participatory; and
  • Updating the language to ensure it reflects how MOFGA works now and how it will work in the future.

The Governance Committee crafted a series of proposals to update the bylaws after a board self-assessment process, a meeting with staff, interviews with many of MOFGA’s former board presidents and deliberation within the committee and the board as a whole about the best way forward.

The board accepted a broad set of governance changes recommended by the committee. The proposed changes in the bylaws are a result of that vote. The vast majority of the proposed changes are stylistic or typographical.

These are the substantive proposed changes:

  • Provide more inclusivity by allowing remote or electronic meeting attendance and voting.
  • Establish all board directors as “at-large,” meaning anyone can nominate someone to be a member; committees can continue to nominate members to the board as they always have.
  • Define MOFGA’s committees, such as fair steering, public policy, building and grounds, etc., as program committees, and clarify that others are board committees – executive, governance, finance, and fundraising; allow staff to create additional program committees as necessary.
  • Establish term limits for board service with a maximum of nine years before taking a required three-year break.

The Governance Committee and board believe that these bylaws amendments will help position us to be more effective, inclusive and transparent as MOFGA takes on new challenges.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Information sessions will occur every day of the Common Ground Country Fair in the MOFGA tent for those who want to know more.

We are excited to complete this phase of our organizational work and look forward to the ideas and dialog around these issues. Please mark your calendar to come to the special November 3 meeting in Hedges Hall at the Farmer to Farmer conference to vote on these important changes.

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