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:

NETWORK CREATOR

* 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

ADMINISTRATORS

* 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!

Farewell

(although I'll stick around until end June)

and thanks for all the good times

Scarlett

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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Replies to This Discussion

I agree with Elaine in the fact that I personally dislike adds, but I'm not against them for the purpose off funding the site. One other forum that I lurk on, a sports forum, offers the site free for everyone with adds. There is the option of buying a gold membership for $10 which has no adds on your browser.

I haven't read all nine pages - just got back from a week of holiday - but I have experience administrating websites and forums and would be happy to help out however I can.

good on you Jodie :)

getting a lot of responses - will try to have some sort of result on a new convenor by end April

I've been away for a week and am catching up with my emails. This one came as a bit of blow to me.

Being a relative newbe to this wonderful Community Garden Web Site, Scarlet I have found you to be a great source of knowledge together with the other regular contributors. I've often wondered how you found the time, with managing kids, husband, household, gardening and all that has to done on this site. I take my hat off to you, you will be greatly missed.

I looked everywhere on the web for a local gardening site that would help me with problems, remedies and just get ideas and information from like minded folk. I was so pleased when I found you.

After reading all nine pages of this post, I realised your personal ethos carries through to the people and pages of this site. That alone is enough reason for this site not to change in format or funding such as incorporation or member fees.

My suggestion:

Leave site as is with Google adds, just don't look at them and you wont notice them.

Small payment for adds posted as Courses, Workshops, Items for sale etc. where payment is required to attend or purchase; on this site and on Facebook. Extra income when needed.

Where Public Liability is a concern when visiting members gardens, get each visitor to sign an exclusion of Liability statement upon entering premises. I personally don't like this idea, but If worried do it.

I would like the opportunity to take over the running of this site for you Scarlet, with great importance of keeping the ethos flowing.

My credentials are few, but am willing to learn.

I have been a moderator (few years back now) of Brisbane Freecycle, in the starting period.

I'm a Mentor (volunteer computer teacher) for Brisbane Seniors Online, and could enlist their knowledge as they run through the Ning Network.

I am retired, no little kids at home and I do not have a business to run. Only cats, dogs, chooks and garden to look after and of course my computer students.

I was previously employed as a Compositor in Electronic Publishing and graphic design and have worked on computers for approx. 25+ years. I've also studied Web Design.

Also I would like to enlist help from other members to help maintain the site with me.

Boy of boy, this is looking like a job application. I suppose it is because I want this Community web site to stay.

 

thanks Kathryn :)

okay, will add you to the list

am hoping to have a decision by end April

hi Scarlett: has anyone responded to your request for taking over the website?... I'm not in the Brissie area (northern NSW) anymore either but have (and hope to continue to) enjoyed the website and various activities, as occasionally my sister (who is from Brissie) and I do attend these.

Thanks again for all you've done - it is amazing what a big city can hide in its various corners - and yours is a gem... Cheers! Tere

you're welcome Tere

yes - have had a few offers, currently consulting my dowsing rod

hopefully BLF will survive me :)

Yay!  Glad to see some enthusiastic and experienced volunteers.  I'm still on board too, perhaps just as a moderator / helper but I think this site is a valuable (and independent) hub for local food info and community. 

Thankyou to all of the people who have offered to take on the stewardship of Brisbane Local Food now that I am stepping down. 

It's great that people want the site to continue, and that lots of people are willing to put the effort in to make it so.

I have decided to give BLF to the folks whose offer most closely approximates the original ethos, intentions and mechanics of the existing site. I figure this will give BLF its best chance at continued survival, and is the most likely to keep existing members happy.

So thankyou to Farina Murray ( with help from her husband Julian, who is in IT ) for taking on this job. 

Hopefully, whatever they make of it will continue to help people to access and grow local food and help our communities and our planet by doing so.

Many of you have offered to help as administrators - I leave that to Farina.

I won't leave the site entirely, but I won't be around much either. After all, I do live in country Victoria now - and I don't have a glasshouse! These days I'm wanting info on hazelnuts, not pecans ;)

I am very grateful that we don't have to close this site down just because I am leaving, for the sake of everyone :)

All the best to you all, and please make Farina (and Julian) welcome.

Scarlett

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