Director's Report: March 2016

Instructor Darryl McCullough holds forth in the midst of his own "Fruit Tree Paradise" on March 19th.

Instructor Darryl McCullough holds forth in the midst of his own "Fruit Tree Paradise" on March 19th.

With a number of Transition Talks recently delivered and scheduled, our Suncoast Gleaning Project heating up, and preparations underway for our sixth annual Eat Local Week and second print edition of Greater Sarasota's Eat Local Resource Guide & Directory, Transition Sarasota is now calling on all of our friends and fans to help support these important efforts.

Education for Sustainability Programs

Speaking of Transition Talks, this month I delivered two major presentations: one on “Food and Climate Change” for about 20 people who attended the Sarasota Climate Change Meetup at the North Sarasota Library on March 17th and another on “The Local Food Shift” for more than 40 people at the State College of Florida in Venice on March 23rd. On April 8th, I am looking forward to participating in a panel discussion organized by the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce for their Leadership Sarasota Environment Day.

22 people attended our Fruit Tree Paradise Workshop with instructor and Treasurer of Transition Sarasota, Darryl McCullough, on March 19th. Planning meetings for Sarasota County's 11th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop, which will take place this year on December 1st, kicked-off on March 10th.

Local Food Shift Programs

March proved to be the most productive month ever for our Suncoast Gleaning Project, with 10,287 pounds of produce donated to All Faiths Food Bank. This included our single largest harvest of all time, weighing in at 3,100 pounds. Dozens of volunteers contributed 254 hours of their time to complete four gleanings at Jessica's Organic Farm and our first strawberry-picking at Honeyside Farms in Sarasota.

Not content to stop there, however, I met with staff at All Faiths on March 31st to discuss plans for a significant expansion of our Gleaning Project and submitted a grant to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with much help from our rock-star intern, Sarah Moore.

Volunteers glean kale and collards in the distance as Snapdragons bloom at Jessica's Organic Farm.

Volunteers glean kale and collards in the distance as Snapdragons bloom at Jessica's Organic Farm.

Training & Outreach

In keeping with our commitment to grow the Transition movement here in Sarasota County and beyond, I was recently selected to serve on the inaugural Collaborative Design Council for Transition US. This group - whose purpose is to forge connections, share ideas, and provide input regarding Transition US activities - had its initial conference call on March 20th.

Communications

In addition to publishing our monthly newsletter, updating our website, and staying active on social media, Transition Sarasota directly engaged hundreds of members of the general public through our booth at the First Annual Sarasota Honey Bee Festival at Sweetgrass Farms on March 12th.

Fundraising & Finances

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County approved and posted our extensive Giving Partner profile online earlier this month. There, you can read about our Background & Needs, Programs, Management & Planning, Governance, and Financials. You can also make a donation to Transition Sarasota directly through their website.

Soon after approving a new gift policy at a meeting of our Board of Directors on March 3rd, we received our first major gift of appreciated stock from Transition Sarasota Board member Ward Pallotta. And thanks to a $500 gift this month from their parent company, United Natural Foods, Earth Origins Market became our third new organizational sponsor of 2016.

Administration

Our March Board of Directors meeting also resulted in an approved budget for 2016 and a new, streamlined mission statement: “Transition Sarasota improves overall quality of life by building community, revitalizing our local food system, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and strengthening our local economy.”

Following our party at the HuB on March 3rd, which was attended by approximately 80 people, Transition Sarasota began holding regular office hours on the third floor every Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Already, we have played host to a steady stream of members stopping by for a casual chat, volunteers donating their time, and potential partners pitching collaborations.