Links to Garden Organic

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    Garden Organic want to work more closely with us. The two attachments give the details. What do you think?


    Our literature has always said ‘A local group of Garden Organic’ – what exactly is the nature of our relationship with them?


    We are affiliated to Garden Organic so we pay an annual affiliation fee of about £30. I inherited the job of paying the fee when I became Treasurer and never saw anything setting out what that meant but I’ll ask around to see if anyone knows.

    We also pay about £25 for group membership of the Heritage Seed Library.


    It is very much abut promoting them and their work; I don’t think we have the capacity for quite a lot of these activities; we could probably be a bit clearer about which activities we can do and make sure they know what we do as a group. We could probably make a bit more of a fuss about some of the things we do – like the growing of heritage seeds – on our own web site.
    I have just looked on their web site – group membership is £90 and we dont pay that, it looks like we have the standard membership – as an individual? and have joined the HSL as an individual. If we want to be a group we would need to join as a group – it doesn’t give too much detail about this on the Web site and says to get in touch; maybe they want groups to change their membership status, which we should probably do to offer a bit more support but be clear what we do as a group and what we are not able to do??


    I agree with Val’s comments – seems to me like they want a free worker for their organisation. We do what we do and that does include promoting Garden Organic, but I’m not sure if our capacity can extend much beyond this.
    Linking local initiatives is already done on a shoestring via FCFCG’s fieldworker role (that’s me in this area, by the way – membership is free though we encourage joining FCFCG), they may be duplicating and thereby diluting that role.


    OMG – FCFCG! – what fantastic acronym. WTF does it stand for?


    Seems like joining as a group might be a nice idea – it’s not a huge amount, as long as it doesn’t commit us to doing stuff we can’t or don’t want to do, and as long as it doesn’t affect our lovely, new, ratified constitution.

    Is the Heritage Seed Library something we could investigate and push a bit more? Is there an opportunity for group membership of that? It would be nice to be able to offer our members a discounted rate.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by TonyW.

    I’m a bit torn by this. WYOG says it wants to attract new members and notes the relative lack of sign-ups given the increase in organic growing in recent years. On the other hand, we accept that our capacity is limited. The group could have folded some years ago due to overstretching the same few people.

    There is much in the Garden Organic )GO) letter that we (WYOG) already do:

    2. To inspire local members to stay engaged in organic growing and committed to action
    3. To raise awareness of relevant local organic initiatives
    7. Sharing local organic growing information and best practice
    8. Complementing and supporting existing organic initiatives
    9. Supporting initiatives to engage new/current communities and groups into organic growing
    13. Raising awareness of what is going on organically in the area
    19. Arranging educational and social events
    21. Collaboration with partner organisations e.g. Slow Food Movement, Soil Association

    although we could probably do more especially if we received some support.

    Some things we could do easily and they would be beneficial:

    10. Posting relevant local event activities on a local hub page of the Garden Organic website
    11. Circulating a local e- newsletter and engaging local media where appropriate.

    There are other things which we do a little of which would be harder to expand but could potentially be very valuable:

    16. Organising local organic seed distribution
    17. Supporting organic seed swap networks – including local heritage seed varieties
    18. Promoting the growing of local heritage and heirloom varieties
    20. Supporting our research work – members’ experiments.

    Finally there are those things which might help us expand but which could be a stretch of our resources.:

    5. To co-ordinate any local fundraising or member recruitment opportunities
    15. Seeking local fundraising opportunities to support organic initiatives

    There would also be the WYOG v GO conflict – just who are we recruiting for?

    My inclination is to explore our membership with GO to find out what, if different, full membership would offer; ask for their ideas as to how they see this working and, in particular, what support they can offer.

    Before I do this I will encourage more members to take part in this discussion.

    Brian Ford

    It seems to require someone to promote Garden Organic locally. Nothing wrong with that in principle but we are stretched as it is, I’m at my limit & I’m doing a fraction of what some others are doing. If someone steps forward then great, perhaps the new guy who attended the AGM?


    I think it would be helpful if you could talk to them about what being a group member means – do we have to so everything on their list or can we just say what we do, and find out abut what benefits we can pass onto members eg advice from GO on specific queries? Also can you ask about how we can get members to have access to the heritage seeds – Tony’s point above.
    What does it require to organise seed swaps – are there any rules? could we add this into potato day if people have saved seeds and are willing to swap?
    It might be useful if at each meeting we took one of the list and made sure we were doing the best we could with it – so are we promoting all the organic activities we know about on the web site?


    Peter’s point about posting relevant GO activities on the website is a good one, the more events we can get on there the better, but again it’s a question of time. I was thinking of trying to find a member who could concentrate on that (full training given etc) and am planning to send out to the membership and see if anyone is interested. I would like to get the planned upgrade to the events system done first, so it will be early next year, maybe after Potato Day.


    Thanks for all the input. I’ll try to speak to Garden Organic next week to explore the issues that have been raised and will report back.

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