Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

UPDATE POST:

I have attached the draft plan which I held a week to think about.  I will share my view but please comment and share yours.  

In my humble, we are a volunteer run site.  My aim has always been to educate individuals about how easily you can grow your own food.  My idea is that those individuals will impact on larger groups like shops etc through their purchasing decisions.  Given our limited resources, I figured it better to empower folks to live ethically and let their choices make a difference.  

Feel free to comment about the doc - I'm not worried about typos etc.  The aims and message is important though. 

Brisbane Local Food - PR Pitch-original.docx

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ORIGINAL POST:  I was contacted by Sarah, a uni student with an interest in self sustainability and food growing.  She needs to find an non for profit that does not have a marketing or communications plan. That's where we come in.  

Her message: 

I have been meaning to ask you about some of the goals/target (short and long term) of the Local Growers organisation and what are some of results that you would like to see out of a Public Relations plan (noting it is very communication and engagement focused). I’d love to come and see what the organisation does if there is an opportunity to do so. Otherwise it would just be great gain a strategic direction from you.

 Just to keep you in the loop, as part of my assessment criteria – I am required to submit the plan outline to you in the next 2/3 weeks, receive feedback from you and then complete the final document for submission to the uni and returned for your perusal.

My response;

I’ve attached the only promo material the group ever produced (to my knowledge). It was for a pamphlet used at a display of local gardening groups at the RNA during the Ekka.

Clearly, our goals are around helping people to live sustainably. This is most obvious through our focus on growing your own food.  The site has the aim of reducing food miles, increasing food security at a household level and improving the earth (even if just at a household level).  We encourage organic practices: recycling and reusing, composting, rainwater collection, and solar power to improve the health of our soil and crop yields and to decrease our negative footprint on the planet.

Brisbane Local Food doesn’t mind how much or little its members want to contribute, and everyone with an interest is welcomed.  There are members with expertise in most areas so people should feel free to ask for help, and to equally to share their successes.  The informal nature of the group makes it a great place to connect with heaps of like minded people, or just a few who share your specific interests.  “Groups” within the site make this easy. For example, we have cheese makers, bakers, fish farmers, and a poultry group.

So:  I have asked Sarah to come to Kathie's garden visit to talk about her proposal and to see how we operate (and what amazing, wonderful, talented, good looking folks we really are!). 

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Replies to This Discussion

Somehow I lost the plot. Thanks Andy.

Reading this, I too was concerned that we would end up "too big" with the marketing and PR stuff.  What drew me to this site in the beginning and gave me the confidence to start sharing and contributing was that it was very obvious we were all "amateurs" in the gardening realm and that we celebrated peoples success's and helped with their failures.  I'm sure you have that all in mind Andy, so I'm not going to worry about it too much.  I love our focus on sharing the "at home" stuff - blogs, photo's of our harvests, recipes etc.  I have no problem with the 2000 members goal, I mean we are online after all.  GV might become a problem with larger numbers.

These are the points where I have my concerns.  And again Andy, you are the one doing all this so you've probably thought about them and they might mean something different than what I got out of it.  I am just raising some points but am happy to go with the overall consensus.

  1. Gain an understanding, appreciation and support from the chosen council which has resulted in leads with at least two other councils within the first 12 months. I feel that we work well because we don't have council involvement.  I am concerned that things like the GV will start to be impacted on by council regulations once we become officially aligned with a government faction. 
  2. Incentivised return on investment for the organisation. A gauge of better relationships internally. ?? We don't have investments do we?  I know we raise a bit of money through the ads but that is to pay for the site.  Also, what does "a gauge of better relationships internally" mean?
  3. Two gardens at schools, two gardens in the community and two gardens in the workplaces established and maintained.  I personally would love to be associated with gardens at schools - eventually, with my teaching background and love of gardening, I'd like to be employed in some capacity with garden education at school but I can't see how to do that (any one with ideas please let me know).  From running my very limited 9 months garden at school, there were a whole bunch of issues not the least which is money to keep things going.  I know part of the money would be from the grants that she talked about  but it would need a committed school and long term funding to keep something like that going and I was being paid by the school - I couldn't see many of our members having the time to get this stuff up and running unless there was a paid job involved.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts.  I would love to see how this plays out and trust that Andy is all over this. 

I think we are all in accord Susan.  I will talk to her on the phone today.  We are in quarantine until Wednesday so I can't see her face to face.  Your comments are very helpful.  

It's an interesting discussion.  That's two people now who have approached us as an organisation for their research - there was that environmental group thing I went to with an imaginary BLF hat on. Thinking of BLF as an organisation you start coming up with shared goals, spokespeople, etc and before you know it you have hierarchies and committees and most of us will be running for the hills.

I tend to think of it as a network - or a meeting place.  We share an interest in growing food and that is what connects us but our goals are very individual. Sometimes we'll be interested and in what others are doing and think "good on them" but that doesn't become a goal of BLF as a group.


I think Susan's fruit growing is impressive but I don't want to grow that much fruit. Andy and Rob have their aquaponics but it's not my thing.  I find Andy's verge growing experience interesting and it belongs on the BLF site. My verge growing has a different focus which is why I don't post it here but do it on my own blog which some BLFers might want to read but most not.
 
Sometimes a couple of members find their interests intersect outside growing food and they'll take that wherever they wish without it being a part of BLF.  It's hard to imagine how this would be possible without the internet. 
It evolves - maybe BLF is like an ecosystem.  Can ecosystems have marketing plans?

Not sure if my rambling helps Andy. 

It does.  We seem to all think pretty much the same way. We might say it differently, but if you boil it all back then we like to remain individuals in a network that we can devote as much or as little time as we want. 

In a nutshell, Andy!

I love this group and what Gayle has said is basically how I feel.  It is a place to express all our gardening thoughts and skills and show our results of gardening. Encouragement is the tool we use best.  We all do it in different ways.   I hope we keep this group simple.  

Amen to that. 

Don't worry folks.  All is good.  I've spoke to Sarah and she understands.  

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