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

thanks so much Scarlett. We will miss you. Hope someone is able to take over the reins!

thanks Jo :)

Hi guys,

I generally don't post too much here as quite frankly I would prefer it was a Facebook group. I know people have issues with FB security etc but it's just something extra for me to do and check on. I am a passionate home gardener and have a FB gardening page - The Bountiful Backyard - i would love to get to know more fellow Brisbane gardeners, but just find by the time I work full time, keep a house, a Weimaraner, 3 chickens and a cat and garden in check, and keep in touch with the people I know, trying to learn yet another site just seems like work. I'm sure there are many who feel differently, but hey that's just my opinion. would like to continue to be involved regardless what format, but that's my preference. 

Cheers, Simone

Hi Simone

There is a BLF facebook page - but it's mainly just links back to this site. (type Brisbane Local Food into the search box - I can't seem to find a URL that works as a link).

I know what you mean. The point of difference with ning is that it functions like an information repository, not just a stream of consciousness - so it answers a particular use that facebook can't. 

I'd be amazed if anyone has time to participate in everything that's out there and still have a life. Everyone has to make choices - pick the best thing that suits :)

Scarlett

Some of the "quiet" folk have come up with some good ideas. :D

I personally think the site should stay exactly where it is - as Scarlett points out it would be like starting all over again if we moved from Ning. We would lose content and the reputation it has gained over the years.

This site works well for sharing info, pics and blogging. FB is a confused mess in comparison. I don't mind the ads, I ignore them most of the time as I do with most advertising, but every now and then I see something that interests me.

$1 a year sub is a goody. Noone should object to that. Would there be problems setting up a way of payment? Someone would have to run the account?

Farina and Julian sound like they have the knowlege to run the site into the future, if that's what was being offered, with help from a few of us as administrators. Applying for Council funding sounds like a good idea.

Hopefully whatever the outcome, it will be a simple uncomplicated method of running the site. I've seen too many groups fall over into bickering and power struggles in the past.

I would assume that with anything their will be a cost for conducting payments. This will of course add to the yearly cost of running the sight. I hope that the admins can recoup their costs with the advertising generated from the sight. I just think a sign up fee might deter people from joining. The people that are here already know how good the place is, but new people aren't so sure, and there is a growing suspicion of online payments and associated security.

True. If it can be avoided it should.

A Paypal account is possible, it takes a bit of fiddling to set up one which can receive money. The fees are a bit steep but safety and privacy are assured. I do have a PayPal trading account and you need a bank account attached to it. So having BLF starting a bank account is going to complicate matters. For starters you need rules, constitution, memberships all the semi-legal jazz that goes with it. Already the idea is getting way out of hand!

If it's any help I am prepared to use my PayPal trading account to accept donations/fees and to pass them onto the convenor's account. The minimum you can transfer from PayPal to your bank account is $150 (I will have to check that) or they charge huge fees. And they are slow.

The other thing is, that if you accept a few dollars from each person as individual transactions, the PP fees are quite high. Some organisations take the, for example, weekly donation of $2 and make it a monthly payment, minimising the fees. Two dollars a week is not $1 a year!

If there is someone on here with expertise in applying for funds, give it a go! I do know that there is a lot to know when applying to governments for funding. Certain format, certain information. I suspect the applicants need to be in an auspiced or incorporated state with rules and whatnot.

To get over that, we could publish the donors' first names and amounts and the totals transferred to the convenor. A form of auditing without an auditor.

I really like the idea of Farina and Julian giving it a go. 

The $1 membership fee is a good idea, but just be aware that if you choose to use paypal for it most of that $1 will go in paypal fees.  Might be best to make a $2 membership fee if paypal is the way chosen to pay in this scenario.

Wow!

BLF has become like the friendly neighbour over the fence, which is truly a credit to you Scarlett. Congratulations on creating a wonderful forum for us all.  

You have started a legacy for Brisbane gardeners and I am sure whoever the batton is passed too will treat it with the same care and kindness you have.

Thank-you.

You're welcome Ness :)

Hopefully.

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