In This Issue
- Message from the President: Jon Bell
- BCAFM Staff Goodbyes and Welcome
- BCAFM Makes Recommendations for the 2016 Provincial Budget
- Conference Save the Date: Kelowna March 4-6, 2016
- Hot Off the Press: Effective Leadership Through Better Governance – Board Training Manual 2015
- Board Governance Feature
- Market Management Certificate Program
- July’s Meet My Market Campaign: By the Numbers
- BC Society Act - Changes for 2016
The BC farmers’ market world experienced a great loss this past week with the death of Mary Forstbauer, BCAFM’s past president and one of its most colorful, tireless and loved workers. Mary was a passionate organic farmer and advocate for farm vendors as well as local organic food. Mary and I go back quite a few years so I can say that her style and community involvement will certainly be missed. The BCAFM will miss Mary – we were all touched by her passion for farming – and I know that everyone will have her family in their thoughts.
Our organization will be represented at a celebration of her life on November 9th at 3pm at the Chilliwack Alliance Church. All are welcome to attend.
In August, the BCAFM bid a fond farewell to Emily Atkinson and Pam Lim, both who are now pursuing Masters degrees. We wish them the best of luck and thank them for their work with the BCAFM. In turn, we welcome Vimi Sian as the new Communications & Administration Coordinator, and Anice Wong as the new Outreach & Programs Coordinator.
Earlier this fall, our President, Jon Bell and Executive Director, Elizabeth Quinn had the opportunity to provide input on the 2016 provincial government budget. We presented a report and made several recommendations to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services to strengthen and build our sector. Our recommendations included:
- continued and expanded funding for the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program
- renewed funding for the Buy Local program
- development of a small grant program of under $5,000 for farmers’ markets in rural and remote communities of BC to access Buy Local funding
You can read our full presentation and recommendations in the report here (find our presentation by searching for “Elizabeth Quinn”).
The BCAFM is holding its 2016 conference and AGM March 4-6 in beautiful Kelowna! We hope to see you at the Delta Grand Resort for a great weekend of learning, sharing, andnetworking. This year’s theme will highlight the connections between agriculture and health. We will have more information to share soon, including our request for workshop proposals,and farmers’ market awards nominations.
What is governance, why do you need it, and how does it concern your market board? The second edition of the Board Governance Training Manual will answer these questions and many more. The manual is an overhaul of the 2010 edition and the changes were made to reflect the growing and changing needs of farmers’ market boards over the last several years.
You will be able to purchase it from the BCAFM website for $20 including shipping. Release date TBD.
In the coming months we will highlight some of the best practices revealed in the soon to be released 2015 Board Governance Manual. Enjoy the first in the series below!
Board Members have three main areas of responsibility:
- Strategic responsibility: decisions about using resources, programs, and services
- Generative responsibility: development of new ideas compatible with the organization’s core values
- Legal responsibility: responsibility of board members to ensure, to the best of their knowledge, that the organization’s activities comply with legal guidelines
Legal responsibilities of board members deserve particular consideration given the significant potential consequences of operating offside of the law.
Generally speaking, board members must represent the interests of the organization’s members within the law. A board member’s legal responsibilities can be broken down intothree basic duties:
- The duty of diligence or care: the duty to act reasonably, prudently, in good faith, and with a view to the best interests of the organization and its members.
- The duty of obedience: the duty to act within the scope of the governing policies of the organization and within the scope of other laws, rules, and regulations that apply to the organization.
- The duty of loyalty or fiduciary duty: Board members have fiduciary responsibilities because the organization they direct can only act through its board members. Fiduciary duty encompasses board members’ obligation to avoid all situations in which their duty to the farmers’ market organization conflicts with their personal interests, duties to others, or their business as vendors. That is, a board member must place the interests of the organization first and cannot use his or her position as a director to further any private interests.
More specifically, board members may not speak exclusively for any particular membership or constituency on the board, may not vote in regards to the benefit of anything other than the entire organization, and can be found liable if they do not act in the best interests of the entire organization.
In the farmers’ market sector, it is common for boards to be made up of representatives of different geographic regions or different vendor groups, but they are still required to represent the entire organization instead of speaking on behalf of the group to which they belong. Furthermore, anyone with voting rights or acting like a voting director on the board can be held responsible for fiduciary duties not adhered to. Board members also retain fiduciary duties after resigning or retiring. For instance, former board members would breach their fiduciary duty if they shared confidential information they gathered while acting as directors. To be sure, consult a legal expert about the particular expectations for board members in your jurisdiction.
We’ve had an overwhelming response and registration ratewith our first Market Management Certificate program. Over 45 people have signed up to the program, which is centred on strategic business planning and is designed to provide training for and assistance with market development. We welcome program participants from across BC, as well as ourfarmers’ market colleagues from Washington and Ontario.
With the help of Michelle Wolf, one of Canada’s leading farmers’ market experts, participants will learn best practicesin market management, vendorship, financial sustainability, leadership, and more. The program also includes a webinar session with Margaret Mason, LLB, about non-profit legal issues and the new BC Societies Act.
Thank you to all of our members who participated in the Meet My Market campaign – there were over 75 of you! The goal of the campaign was to increase sales at farmers’ markets,and we are in the process of evaluating this aspect of the campaign more closely through the tracking of vendor sales at several member markets. We ran a multi-faceted campaign that provided incentives to loyal market customers who introduced a friend to their favourite market, and we highlighted the qualities that make markets stand out in comparison to other grocery venues through television, outreach to bloggers, and print and social media.
Here are a few highlights of what we achieved together:
We developed a media partnership with Global TV – and ran a series of ads and public service announcements on multiple channels including Global TV and BC 1.
This year we doubled our earned media coverage with 75 traditional and online media clippings (up from 32 in 2014). We reached out to media across the province and worked with individual member markets to pitch your stories to local media.
Media Coverage highlights:
- Meet Your Market on City TV’s Breakfast Television: We organized a mini farmers’ market in the parking lot behind Breakfast Television, to highlight Meet My Market Month and the variety of products you can find at the market.
- A Look Into Local Farmers’ Markets on CTV Morning Live: Helen Fathers of the White Rock Farmers’ Market brought a sample of the bounty available at local markets to the CTV studio, including a taste test!
- Take a look at the Campaign Wrap Up Report and review all of the media coverage.
Are you prepared for the 2016 changes to the BC Societies Act? These changes will affect over 27,000 societies in BC including registered charities, non-profits, faith based organizations, and associations. The purpose of the changes is to modernize the Act, create more transparency, accountability and flexibility, and increase member rights and participation.
Some examples of changes to the Act include:
- The threshold for a special resolution has changed from 3⁄4 to 2/3 of eligible votes cast
- Electronic meetings are now allowed (ex.teleconference)
There are new minimum qualifications for directors and senior managers of all societies
- A member can add specific issues to the agenda of an existing members’ meeting if a “member proposal” is signed by at least 5% of voting members
Although there is no specific date as to when the new Act will come into law, the estimated time is Winter 2016. There will be a two year transition period following the date of proclamation of the new Act. If you have not filed a transition application yet, as a pre- existing society, you can not alter your current constitution or bylaws.
It is recommended you get legal advice when deciding how and when to amend bylaws according to the new Act.
To learn more about the BC Societies Act and get your questions answered, sign up for the following info sessions below:
- Nov. 7, 10: BC Societies Act webinar with the BC Centre for Social Enterprise
- Nov. 10, March 8: Understanding the BC Societies Act