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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I'd like to see community groups and community gardens using this site for crowdfunding for their local food initiatives - i think that's a great idea

thanks Liz - very glad it's here to help :)

I don't think money is the problem - the costs are covered by the current revenue stream.

I would not be able to pay a subscription I am sorry. It would be sad for many people who cannot.

If it does come to subs, Nancy, there's plenty like me who don't mind in the slightest. Those who can will do so and those who cannot are just as welcome anyway. Ultimately subs or ads are at the discretion of the new convenor whoever that may be.

Wowza, defintely would not like o see this go! I have found so much interesting stuff and ideas, havinf moved from Christchurch the planting seasons are completely different.

Scarlett you have been amazing!! What an amazing gift for the community. I would be happy to give some time to admin and/or donate $50 



thanks Shelley :)

As far as I can see there's no need for money - it's all covered at the moment

The new creator may well want some admin help down the track - see how it goes! :)

maybe if new ventures happen people can pitch in 

personally i'd like to see:

* adopt a productive street tree program - get a permit from BCC, plant your tree in your nature strip, send in your photos to a website (this one?), pick up the fallen fruit and leave the excess on the street in a little box for passers by :) e.g. lime trees, lemons, pecans

* community orchards - community planting, fertilising, mulch and harvesting events - and sell the produce. e.g. pecan tree orchards in brisbane (as per Village Homes in Davis, California - see

* community cooking classes with local produce - e.g. pecan pie, jaboticaba and lilly pilly jam making classes etc in libraries etc - funded by BCC

* community chooks for eggs in community gardens

* community crops - e.g. sweet potato fields, rice paddies

* convert flood parkland to chinampas - e.g. greenslopes

oh i could go on and on

it's so hard when everyone is battling to get by in the cities these days - but it can be done. it just needs the time and the effort - and then it turns into a critical mass thing and it gets easier. 


Hot topic! Views 971! Now I can tolerate the ads coz my browser suppresses them anyway. I'm happy to donate $50 p.a. whether many others do or not. But I would NOT write another word if my input and the input of all the other gardeners on this site, would go to line someone else's pockets. I give my time. Scarlett gives her time. All the other contributors give their time. Freely and because we want to. So whoever convenes this site after 30th June will need to give his or her time freely too. Whether the site remains a site or becomes an incorporated community group NOT FOR PROFIT is what it should remain.

you know, in the end, i care more about saving the planet than i do about my own income stream. that's why i do it - and i do it this way, because it is the most effective way i can see. if it could be monetised, everybody would be doing it and the planet would be fine.

this is about giving stuff away (like all those years I went to uni studying horticulture) for free, because it's important. 

the other thing about being transparent, i would have put all the money info up on the site for everyone to see, but google ads says you're not allowed - oh oops, speaking of which i have to edit that previous post, it's probably too specific

Actually I checked all the policies again and couldn't find mention of it, but I think I remember seeing that when I signed up. Now not sure, but paranoid.

As usual with all this talk about revenue and ads - DO NOT CLICK ON ADS ON BLF TO GENERATE REVENUE. Only click on ads if you are actually interested in them.

Google monitors ad click behaviour, and if they detect phony click patterns they will ban us (they almost did once - I only got the ads back on appeal, and I have no idea why they were taken off, they don't tell you) and then the site really will have to worry about how to cover the costs.

This whole deal of using advertising to pay for something we want for ourselves is just a tiny bit at odds with wanting to change the world for the better, one garden at a time. OK that's a personal view and not everyone is offended by ads - my index finger does a dance on the TV remote, the ads sound gets turned off. Yes,  I'm a bit toey about advertising. All of this hassle would disappear if those of us who wanted to could donate towards the cost of the site. We are being controlled by vested interests of one sort or another, most of whom do not have our interests at heart.

I'm not so sure Elaine.  Many opinions are WILDLY different to mine - but it is exactly for that reason that I am glad to listen to them. It's a bit like brainstorming my friend - it might not be the first idea that counts, but the one that has bounced a few times off of that could be a ripper!

And, to be honest, I didn't much notice the site had ads.  except for the odd solar power add which I was interested in. At this point, I'm happy to be chillin' and hear what is suggested.  (I think that's why Scarlett posted early about this little issue.)

I am quite convinced now that we will survive.  I've seen a number of great offers already.  Let's use this time to explore all sorts of crazy options!


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