Sept. 28, 2017

Minutes of the Rotary Meeting
September 28, 2017
By Kathy Miller

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by John Dukes at 12:15 pm. Bry Shields offered the invocation and John Smith led the club in song and the Pledge of Allegiance. Tom Martinstein welcomed members’ guests.

New Members: Virginia Edington introduced Kalishia Mitchell and Larry Sindel introduced Ben Ford.

Student Guests: Jeff Luther introduced our student guest from the Alabama School of Math & Science, Kimberly Chieh, who spoke to the club.

Program: James Fowler introduced Dale Speetjens of Ship Shape Urban Farms. Mr. Speetjens received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design, a Masters of Landscape Architecture and a Masters of Community Planning from Auburn University. He and his wife Angela co-founded Ship Shape Urban Farms this year. Their work involves turning shipping containers into farms using hydroponics. The water used to grow the crops, which include lettuce, leafy greens and culinary herbs, contains the nutrients that otherwise would be provided by soil. The technique is ancient and has been used in this format in the United States since the 1930’s. This farming method reduces the need for herbicides and pesticides, the cost of production and the cost of transporting food. Urban farms are designed to address “food deserts”, areas in which there is not ready access to fresh vegetables.

Ship Shape Urban Farms will be located at 610 St. Michael St. The site is designed for engagement with the public. Approximately one-third of the site will contain containers. The farm will include Mobile’s first living herb wall and seasonal gardens which will explain urban farming methods. The site will also include an event area which can be rented, a small restaurant and market. Dale and Angela hope that the farm will change the way that we think about food. Mr. Dukes presented Mr. Speetjens a certificate recognizing his speaking to the Club.

Announcements: Mr. Dukes reminded members of the Gala scheduled on October 11 at Southern National from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Adjournment: After announcing members’ birthdays, John adjourned the meeting at 1:00 p.m.