Between Tuesday June 12th and today, you will have seen some media coverage about Riverdale Farm. Numerous papers and television stations have been reporting that the Executive Committee moved our business plan to the last stage of approval; City Council will vote on it on 11 July 2012. Here is a summary of key messages.
Council asked the Coalition to present a business plan to explore new partnerships and set a strategic direction for Riverdale Farm. This plan provides a responsible, long-term vision to create a sustainable and enhanced Farm. On Tuesday June 12, 2012, the Coalition presented it to members of the Executive Committee; they endorsed it.
The Coalition was not tasked with raising money to keep the Farm operating this year. However, it has taken the initiative to organize a fund-raising event. The Picnic in the Paddock at Riverdale Farm will take place on 21 June 2012. If you haven’t already, please consider purchasing a ticket to help the Farm. Tickets are still available.
The Coalition spoke to numerous for-profit and not-for-profit individuals and organizations and found they expressed considerable interest in investing in the Farm. These potential sponsors, however, need assurance that there is sustainable operating funding for the Farm because they don’t want to invest in something that could close tomorrow. The Executive provided that assurance by committing to include it in the 2013 Budget. This demonstrates confidence that will help the Coalition secure future donations.
The Coalition’s recommendation, which was adopted by the Executive, is that fundraising and revenue generating initiatives will begin to offset the City’s funding of the Farm. Additional funds, through grants and sponsorships, will used to improve the future experience at the Farm. The City’s funding of operations will leverage a significant return in reduced cost and improved facility. The Executive recognized the benefit of this arrangement.
The Coalition will focus on the fundraiser next week, then re-group to determine its go-forward approach.
The Coalition extends its heartfelt appreciation to the members of our community who have supported our work since last summer when the KPMG report first became public. Without your help, feedback, or participation in our petition, survey or town hall, the Coalition would not have been able to present a convincing evidence-based case to the Parks and Environment Committee, the Executive Committee or the Budget Committee.
Thanks everyone. Let’s be positive and look forward to making Riverdale Farm an even better experience in the future.