Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Well, the time has come. I must bow out of BLF.

It's been five years since BLF started, and it has grown into a vibrant community of great service to the people of Brisbane and to people searching for information on the internet.

I am very pleased and proud.

It has been almost three years since I moved to country Victoria, and I feel I must now retire from the site. I am not exactly a Brisbane local anymore ;)

This leaves us all with several options.

If you wish to be considered to take over as creator of the network, or as an administrator (job descriptions below) in order to keep the site running, then please message me.

Otherwise, I will shut the site down at the end of June. If you wish to keep your content you will need to copy/ archive it manually I'm afraid :(

Ning requires a subscription fee to host our content, so I'm afraid we can't just leave it on the internet. 

Job descriptions as follows:


* personal credit is card is billed monthly for ning subscription fee. Currently it's $25 per month, or $300 p.a., but it's about to go up to $49 per month i.e. $600 per year (with a lot more features like apps and facebook integration and phone support apparently)

* creates an adsense account to generate revenue. FY 11-12 earnings $442. So far, since I put more ads on this year, current FY earnings are $612. Google ad money is paid every few months when the amount reaches $150 or more. I've received almost $400 so far and gave $150 to the new farm house community garden and paid $40 for some fairly dud BLF badges from the internet :)

* create a google analytics account (optional?) to view traffic statistics

* approve new members

* check posts, moderate content for appropriate content and tone

* be available by email, preferably via smartphone, to act on inappropriate content asap (i.e. ban offending members and delete their content)

* design network appearance, choose elements

* send out notifications - e.g. events and selected discussions

* feature photos and discussion

* add tag words to content

* close off and unfeature old content

* create a brisbane local food facebook page and post selected links to it


* approve new members

* check posts, moderate content for appropriate content and tone

* send out notifications - e.g. events and selected discussions

* feature photos and discussion

* add tag words to content

* close off and unfeature old content


Note I have been donating any additional revenue to local food gardens and businesses in Brisbane but with the new fee structure, I foresee minimal funds left over.

The creator (and administrators) needs to check the network at least twice a week, preferably at least every 48 hours. 

I have intervened (deleting content and contacting members as appropriate) as a moderator, on 5 occasions in 5 years where I felt discussions were overly negative, or contained content I deemed inappropriate (swearing, and links to an offsite profile detailing sexual preferences). Some members join explicitly to send spam, and when these bogus members get through it is necessary to delete them. You get better at spotting them before you approve them, but there are still several per year - maybe 15 per year?

From April 6th 2012 - April 7th 2013,  115, 000 unique visitors have visited BLF, from all over the world. In the last month, there have been 12, 000 unique visitors and 16, 000 visitors altogether. 35% are returning visitors. Most arrive by search engines, some directly, and some from links on other websites. There seem to be about 5, 000 regular (returning) visitors per month - circa 300 to 600 per day.

I will cede direction, flavour etc entirely to whoever takes it over. 

Personally, I see BLF as a community service, a change catalyst, a knowledge exchange repository, an empowerment and resilience tool. I see the creator role as a facilitator, not a preacher. Although I have considered spamming you all with my 'world according to scarlett' views on the way out, heh heh. Okay, I won't ;)

If you would be interested in either of these roles please let me know - otherwise please consider saving your favourite blogs/ photos/info before they disappear on the 1st July 2013.

Without a new creator, the network will have to close down. Administrators can help share the workload re approving new members etc.

If I can share one observation here -I believe that in any community endeavour, it is the key people and the governance arrangements which are the most important for longevity. You can make a garden on any site, but you must have the gardeners. The best land in the world will lie fallow without the people who want to tend it. That's how we got things happening in Cuba - we found the key, capable, motivated  people and built what they wanted and needed. Same for community gardens. And unfortunately, my failure to attend to succession arrangements is what brings us to this pass now :(

I would like to say a huge thankyou to the biggest contributors to the site - especially Lissa, Elaine, Andrew, Donna,  Christopher, Joseph, Florence, Vanessa and Trinette. And indeed, to everyone who has ever posted on BLF . Your generosity and openness, willingness to share and exchange has helped thousands of other people. A special mention to all who have copied event details onto BLF - that is a real community service. May your positive karma return to you all threefold.

I do hope, though, that someone will take it over and keep it going. Give it some thought. It's amazing how much you get back from it in terms of happiness, pride, sense of agency, sense of helping. Also it's a CV stuffer :)

Ach, the end of an era!


(although I'll stick around until end June)

and thanks for all the good times


PS I'd love to hear any thoughts/ comments you might have about this. Please feel free to leave some feedback.

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Another way to cover the costs, would be to have the organisation as a not for profit, then ask one of many local and national business' to donate funds to cover the costs of registration. Our poultry club, with a membership of just 20 managed to score $500 from Bendigo Bank for club fees.

Jody Wall

With a local organisation especially one already incorporated, this is the way to go. With the online forum which covers a wide geographical area and is run loosely as it were, we my not be so fortunate.

I am. At the brisbane transition ning we send a hat around at 1 meeting and had enough for 2 years of $ 200.-  However, I will pledge 50 dollars if it is needed. I think you will find many people delighted to pay 10 or 20. And Scarlett, this was a wonderful idea and I am so glad you did it and I don't even garden much! Cheers, Gabrielle

thanks Gabrielle :)

Hi Scarlett! 

First up, huge congratulations - you've created a fantastic network which I can just about solely credit for introducing me to a whole new community where the things that actually matter, matter! Over the years, I have been in awe at the incredible passion, knowledge sharing and community spirit that this site inspires and spreads. Thanks to BLF - I am now a committed and active local foodie. So in two words - thank you :) 

I am also a recent community development graduate, who's been pretty involved in the recent UQ Campus Community Garden project, while my husband is an experienced web designer/developer who runs his own web design and hosting business. Together we would absolutely love to give this a go!

As has been mentioned, they certainly are big shoes to fill. So we wish you, and whoever takes over the site all the best, thank you and good luck -  like everyone else we certainly hope that BLF continues to be as inspiring and useful a community resource as ever! 

Farina and Julian

yay :)

you're welcome

that sounds pretty good - will add you to the pool!

now i'm worrying about a process for selection/ decisions

we'll get there!


I think so long as we survive, nobody will be offended by your choice Scarlett.  The only worry we have is that the site will live on. 

Haha! Probably a good position to be in...:)

Thanks, and definitely worth thinking about ways that the site can continue to be self-sustaining while retaining its membership and character moving forward.. a few options all round methinks! 

Hi Scarlet and others

As everyone else says, thanks heaps for your work on this (I'm amazed you've stuck with it so long while back in Vic!).   I moderate the Brisbane Transition Hub Ning and know exactly what is required.   It is good to see folk stick their hands up to take on this role.  The website can be changed to annual membership. With over 1700 members, $1 a year membership would pay for this website and more.  On The Transition Hub Ning (, we formed a communications group to work on these issues, which may be a way forward here.  There are governance/decision making processes that can be used for such a large group (many will be happy to agree with any fair sounding decisions). 

Some other related musings:

Also - do folk know about the Brisbane Urban Agriculture network thats evolving?:

At the above event today, we were talking about this Ning and Scarlets email, as there are obvious links, a clear overlap with this ning, with many shared interests. 

Scarlet also suggested a new Brisbane Local Food facebook group. We had this discussion today, but felt that there are several related sites and groups and we'd be better finding commonality. Many of us are members of this ning since it started and other related groups and see no reason to duplicate it - it's just a question of diffent people becoming aware of the different groups/actions/movements (and it would be good to streamline a little):

We also felt that there many groups in SEQ and that Brisbane was too small a focus.


I hear what you are saying and largely agree.  Joining some of these communities would make us all stronger.  But, you can understand we don't want to lose our content.  The $1 subscription is a good idea.  We'd only need a third of us to pay.  

The 1700 members sounds impressive. Over 5 years I imagine that most will have dropped away. Going on the number of active poster being about 10 percent of the current membership, you might be lucky to look at a pool of 200-300. That is guesswork ;-)

Hi Luke

Actually the Brisbane Local Food group on facebook is already there. It's just links back to this site mainly.

I don't think all 1700 would pay a membership fee - and how would it be collected? Maybe mail a $1 coin? Risk a postie would realise though :)

Yes, it could easily be broadened to Queensland local food or similar. 



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