Hi to all. I hope more members will become involved in the discussions here and I hope the outcome of the board election creates a stable group that works for the interests of the members.
I would like to mention some ideas and comments I have about encouraging essential member participation in the group discussions.
It would be helpful to know how members would like to interact with the group. Forums have their place, however I personally find them time consuming to be active in. One must consciously go to the forum website, log in, browse subjects.... go back browse again. I follow a number of blogs, newsletters, groups etc. on the web and if I have to deliberately go to each one in turn to participate, I will probably not. An opt-in email list is a great participation tool. Once every couple of weeks, all the entries to the forum can be compiled into a thread-based newsletter and emailed to members. I am a member of several Yahoo groups who use this format. It keeps me engaged, I can add to the discussion if I choose, I can delete the email easily if the topics don't relate to me, and I can go on with my day. The only problem I have with the Yahoo format is some groups send DAILY digests which is excessive. bi-Weekly would be sufficient.
Members would have the choice to join such an update/newsletter list or not.
I also have questions and suggestions about the Grassroots Facebook page. ( https://www.facebook.com/grassroot.seed )How many members know of its existence? are we followers of the page? Facebook pages are very viral ways of engaging with member, followers, and the friends networks of followers. I noticed that the GSN Facebook page is rather stagnant. There ought to be a number of admins for it who can post relevant info and topics, ( staying within topic guidelines of course) to encourage participation. Some persons may have strong opinions about FB and other social networks, but it is a fact that 1.35 BILLION people use it every month. That's a lot of people. That's hundreds of thousands of gardeners. Engagement, Member growth, free and sharable education and information, discussion and member posting and sharing are all easy and painless and sometimes viral on Facebook pages. I would encourage greater use of the GSN page for all these purposes.
Could we create a survey to send to members via email or paper, asking for feedback as to what they wish to get and give from GSN? I am sure for some it is simply a place to list seeds to share and obtain seeds. Others may be hoping for an active social group. The board needs to get in touch with other members to understand their expectaions and desires in order to do the most good.
As a candidate for the board, I am aware that it is not just a position of opinion. Members of the Board must be interested in doing actual work and effort to advance the mission of the group. We need to be thinking of ideas and how to act on them, thinking about the membership and everyones needs and how to meet them, and about how to grow the GSN membership to be able to reach the 'critical mass' of stability. When sending in my ballot, one consideration for me was evaluation (based on a limited bio) of the ability of candidates to provide skill and work for the group and hopefully we can create a great Board able to devote time and energy to GSN.
I look forward to further discussion about Heirlooms, 'pure' varieities, landraces and plant breeding. Lets remember that all plants were once wild, the world is not static, and even the best maintained Heirloom or open pollinated varieiy changes over time depending on its environment. As an example of diversity and unpredictability in even Heirlooms that are so-called stable, many years ago I grew Black Prince tomatoes from stock I picked up at a seed swap. I lost it one year. Since then I have been trying every Black Prince seed I can find. Nothing is quite like the original I had. Close, but not the same. The simple act of saving seeds in your own garden year after year, from plants that taste best to you, grow best for you, even germinate at all in your soil type, is subtly changing the genetic dominence of your variety. This is not to be feared, but encouraged. Of course, when I request seed from a member or seed company, I expect what I get to be true to its name and genetically stable. If not, it should be clearly labeled as such. perhaps so there is no confusion in the GSN listings, we should create a 'Landrace' category of plants, so breeders/developers/the adventurous can browse and request seeds accordingly.