Kimbercote Farm’s AGM brings out the best in our community

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Kimbercote Farm is located on a hill that looks down on the Beaver Valley and beyond. For the past 40 years it has provided physical and spiritual space for people to grow. It’s brochure describes the Farm as a “Centre for social and environmental justice in the heart of the Beaver Valley”. The Farm’s 110 acres has provided the Georgian Bay and Southern Ontario communities with a unique opportunity to experience a country setting for events, retreats and a vast array of discussions that take place because of the dedicated volunteers who have kept Kimbercote alive and well with their creative zeal for four decades. Although the focus of the Farm’s activities may have shifted through the decades social justice has always been the bedrock for all its charitable not-for-profit work. As the meaning of social justice has expanded in the last 40 years, so has inclusion of nature stewardship become more important to the Farm. Gardening, permaculture, forest ecology programs, the truly hands-on efforts by Sticks & Stones Wilderness School plus Headwaters Gathering groups have put new meaning into conservation education and practices in sustainability. And so Kimbercote has championed and nurtured aboriginal culture, organic agriculture, faith/spiritual groups, children, families as well as men and women’s retreat groups. The farmhouse has been the key to letting the Farm host year round 25 guests at a time plus tents.

The Annual General Meeting on December 7 brought out 60 individuals of all age groups. No one has ever seen such a large group come out to such a meeting at the Farm. Kimbercote Farm is in financial trouble but it is not without its friends. This place means a great deal to many people. This year’s AGM brought out the people for the love of a Georgian Bay community icon. The usual AGM business of voting in board members was not the focus of the meeting so much as an inspired discussion on the future for the charity. Although the current debt is quite small fewer groups are renting the space in an ageing farmhouse but the maintenance of the facilities keeps on growing.

The members attending the meeting were asked to have small discussion groups and write out their suggestions to be presented to the new board of directors who will then make the critical decisions as to the Farm’s future. Three proposals were given to the group. Naturally the community wishes to see a vibrant and financially secure future for the Farm. Thoughts of renting out the farmhouse on a yearly lease, seeing the sale of some acreage to conservation groups and having Sticks & Stones Wilderness School play a more active role in programming may be the starting point for the end of the charity’s woes.

The crisis now being experienced can transform Kimbercote into the Centre for Community and Ecology, as mentioned at the AGM, and give true meaning and tangible direction to the founders’s original goals of social justice. A possibility/option exists to sell the facility and purchase a new one which puts a major focus onto program development for youth and families, provide dialogue with other communities and “support community/ecology locally, regionally and provincially.” Programs would start in early 2015 for children. SSWS would share programming efforts also. A legal trust would also be created to insure “trust funds go to social justice innovators if the sale of property occurs in the future.”

The other option spells the sale of the land and basically giving the money to like-minded foundations. The new Board’s occupation will be one of courage and vision. We wish them wisdom. It is more than just putting into place short term financial solutions. Kimbercote’s core community needs to now put into play the creative ideas and passion to bring it to 2050.

If you wish to learn more about the Farm and perhaps help in various ways please visit:
www.kimbercote.org or write to info@kimbercote.org

 

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