Agenda items for 2015 meeting

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Agenda items for 2015 meeting

Here I have listed the items that have been suggested so far for the Agenda. It is by no means complete, but is rather a beginning. I urge all general members to give thought to this and put forward any items which you wish to see discussed at that meeting. Although the by-laws allow for last-minute additions, if items are posted well in advance, there will be more time to discuss them so that when we finally meet we’ll be able to transact business more efficiently and have fewer items that need to be tabled because we feel they need more time for consideration. Likewise if you have thoughts or questions about the existing list, please put them forward. Unlike the annual meeting, this is the part where everyone gets to weigh in so that the Board can be aware of your wishes and concerns.

The first group of items deals with basic housekeeping issues that need to be addressed before we can move forwards. The second group deals with various ideas for improvement, outreach, and membership-building, while third group deals with possible projects we might wish to initiate. That group in particular is very open-ended, and I have placed them in that sequence so that if we’re unable to address every issue adequately in our first meeting, we will nevertheless have all the basics in place to continue functioning.

  1. Choose a moderator for the current meeting
  2. Elect officers
  3. Examine the by-laws, considering any proposed changes, and approve them, after which seek the approval of the general membership. Suggested changes include:
    1. To establish provision for referendum
    2. To change the wording of categories of participation from: “sustainer” to “subscriber” and “dues” to “fees”; possibly a third designation of “sustainer” to include true donations beyond what we require
    3. To have one set fee for both categories; likewise for print edition
    4. GSN will own no real estate or major assets
    5. GSN will have no geographic centre
    6. Dedicated funds policy: donations by any individual (beyond some amount?) which are specifically earmarked by that donor must be placed in a separate dedicated account and may not be used for any other purpose without the express permission of that donor.
  4. Seek incorporation under 501c3; find someone who can initiate that process, hopefully a volunteer.
  5. Approve the POLICY (not a by-law, I believe) of a 6-year 6-region rotation of the annual meeting, and establish a fund for travel expenses.
  6. Provide for a midyear “virtual” meeting.
  7. Discuss the next (2016) annual meeting: where and who will host it?
  8. Approve or improve the website: graphics, logo, change plant categories, make listing and editing easier.
  9. Modify “Pure Seed Only” policy to allow for unstable breeder-lines, properly identified.
  10. Clarify and add No Division (Lister-Grown-Seed Only) policy


  1. Discuss ideas for membership-building, including:
    1. including foreign members
    2. including/enabling off-line members (address Forum access issue)
    3. determine our estimated lowest per member (plus some margin/cushion) and adjust our fee to approximate. Not owning real estate, having no permanent salaried staff, and other frugal measures might help to reduce that.
    4. Although we encourage members to self-list (to save money), they should have the option of sending theirs in to Ashley as hard-copy, attached doc, etc., for HER to enter for them. That option should be clearly advertised. Our current system is keeping many potential members away.
    5. Assign someone to oversee the hard-copy edition, including shopping for cheapest printing and working with Ashley to compare it with the SSE/WY.
  2. Discuss possible educational and promotional activities which might include:
    1. a speakers’ bureau of members who would be willing to offer presentations at events in their region.

                  b.  regional demonstration sites (public visits, open-house days, etc.) at

                       individual members’ gardens/farms.

      2. Consider forming a “Curators’ Guild”, a small network of individuals who collectively provide a secure backup for those endangered varieties which SSE has concluded are not their priorities. 

My apologies for the terrible formatting! It's just a list; organisation is not critical at this point.                                             

12540dumont's picture

I think that all the meetings should be virtual meetings, especially for board members not in Maine!  I also think you should enable Paypal.  I also disagree with a print version.  It's expensive, time consuming and environmentally not very friendly.  Those are the items I wish the board would discuss.  I also agree, anything to make the website strong and powerful.  I wish we could order on line.  Perhaps, if GSN took a percentage like Etsy, that could work! 

Irena Hollowell
Irena Hollowell's picture

This is a test reply so that we can see how a reply to a particular previous message shows up in the our current forum format.

Thanks for adding those Holly

Thanks for adding those Holly. I would just add that only the first meeting would be in Maine; by my suggested scheme, the second meeting would be in the south-central region, so that any New Englanders who are still on the Board (hopefully that too will shift) will be having to travel to Dallas or Tulsa or Little Rock, etc. While there's no denying that a virtual meeting would save oodles of time and money, it would also exclude many individuals from participating, which i'm loathe to see happen.

Joseph Lofthouse
Joseph Lofthouse's picture
I would like to see the board

I would like to see the board impliment a formal voting procedure... No more guessing about who was in favor of what... But an honest proposal of a specific written item, with a specific yes/no/absatain vote recorded for each board member, and the items voted on published. That would be trivial to impliment in software.

I agree with Holly. I would love to see every meeting be a virtual meeting every time... It would have been impossible for me to travel to Maine. It's really difficult for me to get as far as Idaho.

I don't know if you have checked the pay-rates of database administrators lately, but they should not be doing data-entry tasks, or moderating forums. A database administrators sole role should be the proper functioning of the database and associated programs.




Greta Loeffelbein
quasi-virtual meetings

One thing that has worked for an org i'm in, in the recent past, is having some people present in the room at the meeting, and others attending by speaker phone, or by Skype where they can see us and we them.

Martha Gottlieb

I agree with Greta. You could try out a virtual + actual  scheme at the first Board meeting.  Are there really many people who would be excluded by virtual meetings?  Nearly everyone, I imagine, has easier access to a computer in the neighborhood than to a plane ticket.

As Holly said, the print edition is costly and perhaps unnecessary. If a few people cannot get online, they could arrange a computer printed copy somehow.  The website could offer a printable version of the seed list, to make it easier.  I guess this hinges on making the listing method easier, though it isn't too bad once you get used to it.

I would like to ask the Board to extend the members  read-only privileges to the Board email listserv.  In the interests of transparency, all members could then see what the Board is saying, yet not be able to write to the list.  I've been wondering how things are going - it's so quiet!

I agree that we could have a

I agree that we could have a hybrid meeting of face-present and virtual. The present by-laws allow for that to the extent that some number (5?) must be present in body to conduct business. We might have to amend that to allow for a larger number to be virtually present. Although i feel that the more who can be there in the flesh the better, the more critical factor is the number who must be present in some form or other. Although many of us are concerned about the Maine/New England over-representation on the Board, it could be a real advantage in our first year, in that a quorum (under present by-laws) could be present with few or no plane tickets, which could in turn amend the by-laws to reduce the in-flesh requirement. OTOH, one of the reasons we made a by-law allowing general members to attend (but not speak or vote, which would give them an unfair advantage over others) was to encourage face-to-face meeting with the Board, part of our goal to maximize accountability and transparency, and simply to let members feel that this is THEIR organization. At SSE Campouts they get to meet each other, but rarely even see the Board members. We can do better than that.


 Someone keeps suggesting we not have a print edition to save cost, but i must tell you that is a terrible idea which condemns us to non-growth. I have a mailing list of over 200 to whom i've been waiting for months to send our our announcement/invitation, until we are ready to include the print edition. Those are potential members, lister, and donors, and currently they represent our biggest potential membership growth strategy. Of those 200, i predict that the majority indeed have e-addresses that they'll share with Ashley, but just don't want  in their profiles. The number of SL we actually need to print will probably be in the dozens; if it is more (because many of us on-liners would still like to have something we can curl up with and pencil in the margins) then so what? They/we'll pay for that extra cost if it's worth it to them/us. As for that cost, that would be added onto the existing $15, which would be an incentive to go on-line if possible, while not excluding anyone as we presently are. How much cost? At our present very modest Source List size, the whole thing could be printed for 5c/pg, well under $5. Moreover we can in effect do POD (Print On Demand) for the exact number we need, without ever having any overruns. Of course as Source List outgrows that capability, we will have more revenue and can also change proportionately more for a product which is by then far more valuable. To not offer that at all will be a major shot in the foot, especially since SSE is pressuring members to use on-line exclusively, which will effectively push many members out.