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RCMG 2024-2025 Board Candidates

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

10/10/2023

Voting is enabled from October 18 through October 31.

RCMG members are asked to vote for candidates running to join the 2024-2025 RCMG Board of Directors.

A ballot will be emailed to all active and certified volunteers starting on 10/18. All votes should be in before 11/1. To certify the new board members, a quorum of 30% (number of responses from voting members) is required. A simple majority is required to pass motions or resolutions.

 

2024-2025 Candidates

Kay Wimer

Candidate for: 2024 vice chair; 2025 chair

Joined RCMG: 2019


About this Candidate

I grew up in Indiana where my grandfather first got me interested in gardening. He gave me a home-grown cherry tomato and I was hooked. I’ve been gardening ever since, in six states and five hardiness zones. (I have to admit I really miss Zone 7.)


When I moved to a new home in White Bear Lake in 2016, I was determined to find out more about gardening. I started the Master Gardener program in January, 2019, and it’s the best thing I ever did. I am in awe of the wonderful people I’ve met for their depth of knowledge and experience, both inside and outside the program.


I became co-chair of the New Member Committee in 2021 and chair in 2022, arguably two of the most challenging years for the program in general and interns in particular. Chair Chris Strong and I introduced the Team concept for mentor/intern groups in 2021, including most of the 2020 interns who had been unable to finish the program on time due to the Covid shut downs. Co-chair Judie Ginter and I refined that concept for 2022, and Judie and Karen Randall have continued it this year. As the program gets bigger, teams organized by location help interns make connections more quickly. With the Core Class now taught solely online, it has become more helpful than ever.


One of the greatest challenges we will face this coming year is balancing everyone’s right to only volunteer for what they want to do with getting volunteers to sign up for some of our County projects, like yard waste sites. Our relationship with Ramsey County will become more difficult if we cannot fulfill those obligations. Creative solutions to this issue, as well as working with an ever-expanding membership will keep the Board well occupied.

 

Gene Ranieri

Candidate for: 2024-25

Representative of education committee

Joined RCMG: 2021


About this Candidate

I think, gardening may be in my family’s DNA. As a young child my family lived with my grandfather, an immigrant with farming experience. He planted herbs and vegetables in a small garden. Many of our vegetables and fruits came from that garden. A move to the suburbs not only provided a larger home but also land for three separate gardens. All three generations helped plant the herb garden, the vegetable garden and the vineyard. I soon learned to plant, weed, harvest, can and freeze an assortment of vegetables, including tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant onions, potatoes, lettuce and corn. Unlike Minnesota, the climate at the time allowed us to plant two crops of several vegetables. The vineyard yielded grapes that were intended for wine but became grape juice or vinegar.


As I left my East Coast environment for college in the Midwest, gardening was set-aside for studies, career and family. In those years gardening was confined to planting trees, a few vegetables, and annuals and perennials. A move to an another home around the block from our previous home, presented the opportunity to garden again. My wife Kris and I decided to gradually convert our lawn into a perennial garden with a some annuals and vegetables. More recently we converted the boulevard into a garden space. Two of our children have recently become homeowners and both have vegetable gardens.


For years Kris and I talked about learning more about horticulture and gardening but action didn’t occur until we were empty nesters and retirees. We learned about Master Gardeners (MG) from a friend and the State Fair booth. In 2021 we began our MG experience.


I have spent much of my MG time volunteering at community gardens, the plant sale and serving on the RCMG education committee. Shifts have also been taken at the County compost sites, the state fair and the Barn. All of these experiences and getting to know other MGs have increased my interest and knowledge in gardening and RCMG.


For 2024 and subsequent years, I hope we can continue the peer-to-peer program and consider a way to utilize our expertise to hep each other and county residents. The RCMG website is a start in utilizing each others expertise.

 

Tiffa Foster

Candidate for: 2024-25

Representative of new member committee

Joined RCMG: 2020


About this Candidate

I was about eight-years old and living in Louisiana when I first heard Garrison Keillor on a cassette talking about Minnesota, an overabundance of vegetables in summer, leaving zucchini on neighbors’ door steps in the middle of the night, and throwing a tomato at his sister’s butt. I thought it was the most wonderful thing I’d ever heard. It was the first time I laughed so hard that I cried. So any time I would hear about Minnesota growing up, I thought of vegetables, tomatoes, and well, tomato butts.


So the first summer after my family and I moved here in 2016, I put 19 tomato plants into the ground that I had started from seed indoors in March, an idiotic amount of mint (that I now battle every year), 30 basil plants, and lots of sugar snap peas. We had a lot of tomatoes that year. It was divinity itself. Not one single tomato was thrown at anyone’s butt, but I learned that squirrels are complete jerks that have no qualms taking one bite of a tomato and flinging it off somewhere. In all honesty, I’m happy to share with them, it’s just that they’re so wasteful with that one bite! It drives me nuts.


I had wanted to become a Master Gardener the moment I learned that such a program existed. I love gardening and I love to volunteer. I spent years looking at and reading about the program, but never quite had the confidence to apply. Finally, in the fall of 2019, I went to read about the program again and learned that the application was due that day. So I decided that I was going to apply, it didn’t matter if I got accepted or not. I dropped everything I had planned that day and worked on my application. Once I found out that I had been waitlisted, I was thrilled! I had been sure that I was going to get rejected, so to see that I was waitlisted was so exciting. Then not too long after, I found out that I got in! This was nothing short of miraculous!


Then the pandemic hit. And the children were home doing school online. And my father got sick. Uff da! I had no idea how I was going to get these service hours in. I was sure I was going to have to drop out of the program. I was so sad. But then I found out the Master Gardener program was extending the requirements for another year and I was hopeful once again. I particularly loved doing the Speaker’s Bureau. This gave me a chance to read and learn and answer people’s gardening questions as an assistant while getting my hours done. I found the Speaker’s Bureau to be one of my favorite reprieves of the pandemic. Now that we’re back in person, I’ve enjoyed working in the rain gardens at Aldrich Arena, mentoring interns and Lawn to Legumes recipients, going on garden tours at Master Gardeners’ homes, working on a class about rain gardens, and growing basil for the plant sale. The reaction of joy and awe I received from other Master Gardeners when I dropped off my basil for this year’s plant sale still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.


I am working to understand the challenges facing the Ramsey County Master Gardeners. I love a lot of the changes made to bring interns onboard. I think it makes for such a smoother transition into the program. I am so impressed with what has been done and am looking forward to being a co-chair next year. I think making sure that people are well trained before being in an advice-giving situation is important and something that we need to address because the public depends on us to provide accurate and reliable information. I also know that anything we can do to get people to feel they are valued and important members of this organization is vital for our success as we grow as a group.

 

Stacy Sola

Candidate for: 2024-25

Representative of marketing & communications committee

Joined RCMG: 2021


About this Candidate

My horticultural passion was nurtured by my family. My grandfather was a founding member of the Iron County Master Gardeners in 1999, contributing to the establishment of a community farmers market. My grandmother and father also fostered my love for gardening, with my grandmother spending time with me in the garden and my father cultivating a beloved community pumpkin patch.


Venturing away from home, I pursued higher education, specializing in Art and Communication as an undergraduate. Subsequently, I continued my academic journey, earning a graduate degree in Business. My professional path led me through various management, operations, and marketing roles over the years.


Upon becoming homeowners with my husband, I rekindled my love for gardening. One of the garden spaces is dedicated to my nephew, providing him with the same gardening experiences I cherished in my youth.


In 2021, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a Master Gardener. Today, I am honored to serve as the board's Marketing and Communication Chair alongside Nanette Boudreau, a visionary founder of our Marketing Communication Committee. Together, we are committed to advancing our organization's mission with the Communication Committee members who bring abundant talent and a profound dedication to serving the community through various communication channels and platforms.


I'm pleased to announce my candidacy for the position of Marketing and Communications Committee representative on the 2024 Board of Directors. I humbly request your vote as I seek to serve and make a positive impact.

 

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