2023 Annual BOD Reports Summary: A Journey of Preservation and Engagement

As we reflect upon the past year, we invite you to join us in revisiting the milestones, accomplishments, and endeavors that have shaped the story of the Goshen Farm Preservation Society. In 2023, our commitment to preserving history, fostering community connections, and championing sustainable practices continued to flourish. This is a high-level review of the 2023 Annual BOD Reports, and we were able to accomplish this past year.

Educational Outreach and Community Engagement

In 2023, Goshen Farm’s Educational Outreach Committee, led by Terry Brandon, made remarkable strides in connecting with the community and fostering educational initiatives. Key achievements from the year include:

  1. Broadneck HS Signature Program: Collaborating with Broadneck High School’s Signature Program, the committee engaged students in projects related to invasive species and organized “Family Days” events that attracted around 200 students and parents. These efforts fostered partnerships with Maryland environmental agencies.
  2. Cape St. Claire Elementary School STEM Night: The annual STEM Night at Cape St. Claire Elementary School continued to thrive, drawing approximately 200 children and parents. Field trips from the school brought in over 150 students and teachers to engage with Goshen Farm.
  3. Goshen Farm Hoophouse: The Hoophouse project focused on hydroponic food production for low-income families in collaboration with local food banks. This initiative involved 5-10 Goshen Farm members in monthly produce harvesting and collaboration with the Providence Center. Broadneck Baptist Church also ran a successful five-day Music and Arts Camp for 25 community children in July 2023.
  4. AACC Students and Landscape Painting: AACC students specializing in landscape painting attended classes at Goshen Farm, with one student becoming an active Goshen Farm member. The committee provided a creative space for artistic expression.

Looking ahead, with the completion of the Servant’s Quarters renovation, the committee plans to launch an educational program honoring Dr. Morris Radoff’s contribution to Maryland’s history, utilizing relevant books authored or edited by Dr. Radoff.

Preserving the Grounds for Generations to Come

Roy Benner, the Grounds Chair, played a pivotal role in maintaining and improving Goshen Farm. His contributions encompassed regular grass-cutting, tree maintenance, picnic table rebuilding, and support for educational initiatives. Key achievements and activities in 2023 include:

  1. Established a “Digging Pit” with wood chips in the Nature Play Space.
  2. Planted seven donated apple trees and thirty-two donated grape vines.
  3. Undertook critical repairs, including fixing dangerous brick issues and restoring severely termite-damaged areas in the Servant’s Quarters.
  4. Replaced eleven Walking Tour Sign Station Markers and eleven Bluebird buckets.
  5. Executed new plastic coverings for the Hoop House and Hot House, optimizing their cooling systems.
  6. Repositioned metal cart shelves for improved Hydroponics at the Hoop House.
  7. Collaborated with Dave Weir on the installation of plexiglass windows with ventilation in the Farm House.
  8. Reconstructed the wattle fence surrounding the Henson-Hall Slave Garden.
  9. Ensured safety and improved aesthetics by removing two large and hazardous trees, namely the “Tree of Heaven” and poplar, with the assistance of Richard’s Tree Care.
  10. Introduced Pamela Smith-Purgason’s engaging “Amazing Heart Discovery Walk” at Goshen Farm.

Additionally, Roy oversaw several completed Eagle Scout Projects in 2023, further enhancing Goshen Farm’s facilities and benefiting the community:

  • Mia Chapman: Installed brick patios under five Leopold benches.
  • Neal O’Shea: Constructed three wooden picnic tables.
  • Michael O’Shea: Constructed five large wooden movable park benches.
  • Riley Hoover: Constructed a fabulous bridge/walkway across the Pond.
  • Benjamin Hargrave: Constructed steps and railings to the Memorial Grove.

The Grounds Committee’s dedication and collaborative efforts in 2023 have significantly contributed to the enhancement and maintenance of Goshen Farm. Special thanks to Tracy Smith, Bill Lambert, Christina Joss, Larry Jennings, Bill Hayes, Dean and Kay Cowherd, Fran Bents, Billie Grant, Paul and Karen Bunting, and Becky Benner, who contributed hours of volunteer work assisting the Grounds Chair in beautifying the Farm.

Building & Maintenance Chair’s Annual Report Highlights

Lou Biondi, the Building & Maintenance Chair, oversees the maintenance and improvements of Goshen Farm’s structures. The annual report highlights various activities and initiatives:

  • Capital Projects Grant Activities: Securing funds for essential capital projects, including stabilizing the Goshen Farm House.
  • Security System Enhancement: Evaluating and improving the security system, with recommendations presented to the Board.
  • Cunningham Report: Completion of Grant Matthew Cunningham’s historic structure investigation report, providing insights into the Farm House’s historical significance.
  • Electrical Service: Initiating electrical service to the Tenant House, pending approval due to cost considerations.
  • Chimneys and Milk House: Obtaining proposals for stabilizing the north-side chimney and addressing the Milk House foundation, pending BOD approval.
  • Tenant House: Progress in the Tenant House renovation, including siding replacement and plans for “As-Built” drawings.
  • Arts Council Grant: Continued work on a grant project related to the “History of Goshen Farm,” expected to be completed in June 2024.
  • Events Support: Active participation in community events like Maryland Day Event, Spring Open House, and Wine Tasting.
  • Summer Concerts: Support for Membership Appreciation Night and bank deposit management.
  • Grounds Support: Evaluation of driveway paving options and exploration of grant opportunities for driveway repaving.
  • Transition Activities: Facilitating a smooth transition with the setup of a new email account and document organization.

Lou Biondi’s efforts ensure the preservation and enhancement of Goshen Farm’s structures and contribute to community engagement and improvement initiatives.

Events that Bring the Community Together

In 2023, Barbara Morgan and Christy Folderal co-chaired the Events Committee at Goshen Farm, and their leadership resulted in a highly productive year. The Events Committee orchestrated a diverse range of events and activities, making a significant contribution to community engagement and fundraising efforts. Here are the key highlights:

  1. Successful Management of Annual Events: Organized a successful year of events, including Java & Jazz, Maryland Day, the Kayak Raffle, Spring Open House, Summer Concerts in coordination with Scott Powers, and the Harvest Pasta Dinner. They played a vital role in coordinating ticket management, promoting the event, securing sponsors, and ensuring a positive experience.
  2. Wine Down At The Farm: Organizing Goshen Farm’s inaugural wine-tasting event in collaboration with partners was a significant achievement. This involved securing sponsors, ordering wine glasses (which sold out), coordinating catering, and providing live music entertainment.
  3. Management of Event Use Tracker: They took on the responsibility of managing the Event Use Tracker on Google Docs. This included processing event requests and communicating with interested parties, including handling requests for weddings and large adult parties. In total, they received over 32 event requests in 2023, with 17 of them approved for events at the Farm.

In summary, the Events Committee’s dedication and hard work in 2023 played a pivotal role in Goshen Farm’s vibrant community engagement efforts and fundraising initiatives. They delivered memorable events and enhanced the farm’s role as a community hub, contributing significantly to the success of each endeavor.

Membership Growth and Contributions

Becky Benner, the Membership Chair, played a key role in increasing membership units from 240 in December 2022 to 246 in December 2023. Beyond her committee duties, she extensively reviewed and edited various board documents, including reports, minutes, and grant applications. Becky collaborated with other board members on revising the Society’s By-Laws and establishing an expanded membership policy.

Additionally, Becky supported the Communications Chair in updating MailChimp databases, ensuring accurate contact information for GFPS members, Sharing Garden members, and the general public. She also contributed to the revision of the book “Goshen Farm,” made possible through a grant from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County.

Becky actively participated in webinars and Zoom meetings hosted by heritage and historical organizations, gathering information relevant to Goshen Farm’s history, including the enslaved people’s history and surrounding historical sites. She also serves as the Society’s liaison with the Cape St. Claire Improvement Association, attending their monthly Board of Governors’ virtual meetings and advising them on Society activities. Furthermore, Becky represents the Society in various committees within the Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area, including the Education Committee and Maryland Day.

Growing in the Sharing Garden

Bob Nestruck, the Chair of the Sharing Garden Committee, plays a vital role in overseeing the Goshen Farm Sharing Garden and maintaining the Henson-Hall Slave Garden (HHSG). Despite facing challenges in 2023, the Sharing Garden had a successful season with notable highlights:

  • Collaboration with BHS Enclave students in collecting vines and rebuilding the wattle fence around the Henson-Hall Slave Garden.
  • Maintenance of the BHS Enclave Sharing Garden plot #15 in anticipation of the students’ return.
  • Donation of additional produce from the Henson-Hall Slave Garden to Terry Brandon’s food pantry efforts.
  • Successful cultivation of luffa squash in HHSG, leading to the creation of luffa soap and hot pepper products, generating $1030 in revenue for GFPS.
  • Inclusion of Jack Henson and Nace Hall in “The Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland” database in collaboration with Chris Haley, Director of Research Department at the Maryland State Archives.
  • Acceptance of donations, including trimmers and a garden hoe, from Member Dave Shoemaker for the Sharing Garden.
  • Improved internet connectivity at the Farm, with an average connection speed of 90 Mbps.
  • Purchase of a Wi-Fi weather station for future installation.

Bob Nestruck’s dedication and efforts continue to contribute to the success and sustainability of the Sharing Garden at Goshen Farm.

Enhancing Accountability, Security, and Communication Efforts

In 2023, Goshen Farm Preservation Society achieved significant milestones. Thanks to Treasurer Christy Folderauer and volunteer consultant Sharon Smith, the Society implemented a new accounting system, ensuring better financial tracking and accountability. Despite a longer transition period, the benefits promise a sound fiscal foundation.

Dirk Schwenk, leading the Security Committee, oversaw the installation of an upgraded security system at Goshen Farm, improving access control and expanding camera coverage throughout the property.

The addition of Shannon Beauchamp Lepthien as Communications Chair helped in reshaping the Society’s digital presence. She oversaw revamping the website into a user-friendly hub, creating a central online identity for Goshen Farm. Through adept social media usage, they fostered a vibrant digital community and increased engagement.

Thank You to Our At-Large Board Members

The At-Large Board Members of the Goshen Farm Preservation Society, including Rose Mary Stocker and Linda Páez, made dynamic contributions. Rose Mary supported event organization, while Linda facilitated crucial collaborations, such as with Bayview Builders for Tenant House restoration. Their innovative and dedicated efforts improved society events, projects, and community engagement.

Remembering a Friend

On a somber note, the Society would like the recognize the passing of Earling Joseph “Joe” Lamp, a long-time Member of the Society and an ardent volunteer. A tree in the Goshen Farm Memorial Grove is planned to be dedicated to Joe Lamp’s memory. The Society’s condolences to his wife JoAnn and his daughters Amye and Joy.

Thank You for A Remarkable Year!

The Goshen Farm Preservation Society’s journey in 2023 was marked by growth, engagement, and preservation. With a passionate community, dedicated committees, and a vision for the future, Goshen Farm continues to thrive as a historical and educational treasure. Please keep in mind this is a high-level review of the 2023 Annual BOD Reports. There was so much more accomplished that we could not include. Thank you to our Executive Team, Board Members, and volunteers who made 2023 amazing. Looking forward to an even better 2024!