Fwd: OVaL & PFF 11/11 Meeting Minutes (Next meeting 11/25)

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Robyn Mello

Nov 12, 2012, 11:03:03 AM11/12/12
to occupy-va...@googlegroups.com
Occupy Vacant Lots/Philly Food Forests Meeting Minutes

11/11/12 at Bri & Robyn's House

This meeting was mostly a brainstorming, reflection, & projection meeting at the season's end. Upcoming meetings & smaller, break-out meetings will deal with what came up.

As everyone came into the meeting space, they were given a pen & paper to write down their feelings, hopes, dreams, & disappointments, etc. about OVaL/PFF, & asked to think about the following questions in case they needed help getting started:

Write a mission statement for what you think this group is trying to accomplish. What do you think went really well this year? What can be improved? Where & on what days of the week should we have future meetings? How often should we meet in the off-season & during the season? How often should we have workparties? Does the workparty "formula" work? What do you want to learn or teach others about? How should we proceed with education? Is there a vacant lot that you want to work on next year & oversee? Where? How can we address dealing with individual & group accountability, responsibility, & follow-through in a volunteer organization? What do you see as the difference, if any, between Occupy Vacant Lots & Philly Food Forests? Should Philly Food Forests consider becoming a non-profit in the coming year? What plants do you want to see more of next year? What building projects do you want to work on? What are you good at? What do you want to be good at? How can you help this project progress? Do we need to work on purchasing lots? How can we fundraise? How can we improve our outreach to neighborhoods? The city? The region? The nation? The world? How big is our scope?

If you want to submit your feelings about these questions & other things, please get them to the group ASAP for consideration. E-mail Phillyfo...@gmail.com or message the OVaL or PFF Facebook pages & we'll add them to the lot.

Next meeting: Sunday, November 25th, Time & location TBD

Responses follow:

  • Contact Occupy Food Group to give away any extra produce

  • Introductions

  • Vivek: OP Treasurer

  • Leslie: Newark, DE, lots in neighborhood in Philly to work on

  • Maritza: more herbal remedy stuff, soap, lotion, salves from gardens

  • Marlon: figure out how to avoid harvest going to waste

  • Iwanka: Sustainable design & architecture – lots of talents, “just won't stop”

  • Steve: “vanguard of the revolution

  • Larry: “Religion is having your hands in nice warm dirt.... I have a truck, & I'm good with a shovel.” Expand to Wilmington, Delaware?

  • Bri: neutral on purchasing lots, personal focus is outreach, more people committing time to outreach in neighborhoods, reaching out to community leaders, churches, beautiful signage (Like Emerald Street), will have interns from Moore to work on that, harvest charts, welcomings, garden ID stakes, more gardens for people who really want gardens & will work on them & eat the food on their own, we're giving a gift, maybe use Craigslist? Neutral on non-profit, didn't establish as strong a presence as she'd like to, but that takes time. Responsibility all on just a few people—communication will help. Make tasks & responsibilities much clearer (how?), slowly build ties to Survive & Thrive group

  • Vivek: yes for 501(c)(3) or other non-profit, to get cheap land, accountability & good accounting system, form small committee for efficient administration, get more volunteers locally & from afar

  • Meenal: great idea on purchasing lots, slated for long-term use, structural improvements, how to finance? People willing to purchase & hold land for us, confused about process & how to go about it? Many people have reached out—we can go back through old e-mails with people who have reached out. PFF not non-profit, should just partner with something already. Need more perennials & nut trees, less annuals. Can network with existing groups, website, financial accountability, & longevity because she's here. If you say you're going to do something, you have to do it. Write it down. Be careful when you raise your hand. If you have an idea, don't just throw it out there. Run with it. Will teach cooking about whatever's been harvested—simple recipes. Would love to learn about medicinals. Mission statement: abused space into visible space for healing, permaculture influence in the city. Wanted to do this 12 years ago when she moved to Philly, & got stuck in the process. Love the magic about just doing it without ownership.

  • Steve: Plants – select plants through surveying neighborhoods (@ peace park, collards, for example), gear your garden towards the taste of theneighborhood. Like to start a couple new patches in high visibility areas & use signage to make people aware. Street corner in high traffic zone. 10X10 footprint. Several throughout city. Dead set against being involved with money or ownership or bureaucracy. If we get kicked out, we'll just move on.

  • Do we want this to be ephemeral, or do we want to have permanent spaces? The impression it leaves on people's minds is the importance.

  • Rina: Learning more & teaching more about preservation (canning, pickling, drying), techniques that have been used by natives, regional & native crops, look back through food history (MAIL FOOD HISTORY) & get high-yielding seeds. Recording the yield, poundage in certain amount of space, getting a lot of biomass out of little space. Greenhouses built (out of old plastic bottles, eg., repurposing waste, where to store it?). Learn more about plant identification, resources (people & books), need better signage. If there's ever a battle over land that we squat – what do we place value on? We have great points to make. Really great community. Proud.

  • Matt Weaver – contact community organizations, work with local churches, inspiration was great, felt loved & grounded, very revolutionary & inspirational. Working groups who could spearhead certain acquiring & maintenance of tools. Instruments. Kids' activities. Things that worked—empower a few people to take on things. Whiteboards at each site.

  • Monica – structure. What is this going to be? Greenhouses & structures for year-round would change energy of it. It would be fully sustainable. Would keep up energy. Connect with other groups that are like this & network. Getting in the swing of things. I'm inspired.

  • Joe – this was our first year. It's gotten stronger & hasn't died out. Everyone jumped in & started. Some things weren't perfect, but everything had a huge yield. We're doing a terrific job, already successful. What is the separation between PFF & OVL? Need to make those roles obvious. What is this unstated mission? PFF – permanency. OVL – more temporary. NEED follow through with self-accountability. Education – sub-conscious ability to learn & grow & explore & encouraging each other. We're already educating each other. We're all giving as much time as we can, only so much time, so idea of 501(c)(3) & reimbursing people, etc. may have to come in. Have to decide what the organization & gardens' stance is on money & using it. No one should be able to sell any produce or plants or any ideas for personal gain. That's against what we're up to, but not in any of our spaces. No money. These are sacred spaces.

  • Raina – non-profit may be good, but too much to worry about. If we want permanent spaces, it can be a problem if the city or developers decide they want to build on spaces. Possible space for meetings could be The Bookspace. Plants – loofah, medicinal herbs. Want more plant ID. Would like to make tinctures & oils & soaps & lotions.

  • Greg – Bookspace is an option. Name can't be used online. We may need to donate (tip jar?). Location will take 100 people. Public libraries. Purchasing – can we get properties deeded as urban farms? Pursue vacant lots & deed them as urban farms forever. No value to turn it into a condo. Long-term. We don't want to be gentrifiers.

  • Maritza – can tag a property as community garden space forever—can be deeded that way. Follow up on e-mail about that. Easier than urban farm. Can't sell it as a property even if we go away. Only as a garden space. Better than buying. Outreach – would like to see focus on existing gardens rather than more expansion, know it needs to be done, but I'm not going to be super involved in more gardens, will not be main go-to. Mission statement: help communities create edible gardens that they create themselves with occasional help from us. Will help planning. Want more plant ID on medicinal herbs. Want to do more outreach in my community. Feel that she's not practicing what she preaches if she doesn't know the neighbors & churches, etc. Want to learn canning. Really tired of tomato bread. Want to pickle & preserve & can. More onions & kale. Want MORE TRELISSES. Raising hand to create & build for vertical gardening. A-frame trellises at MEEP. Debbie can get free wood. Everything can climb. Will reduce rot & increase yield. Need grape trellis. Is a non-profit worth it? Can we continue squatting if we're a non-profit? Accountability, responsibility, & follow-through: yes. Watering. Need much more writing down who watered, when, etc. Need garden journals & logs with important information for more gardens. Do we need inventories of tools? Maybe. Workparties are awesome, always, badass & beautiful. Great meals. Improve harvesting & community involvement in harvesting. Really hard to convince people to take free stuff. Have meetings in different spots on different days to accommodate different people. Education: Some people don't realize what they know.

  • Marlon – Will step up to do winter & spring – quickly turn J-Chokes into something edible, stored, relatively non-perishable (chips? Fermentation?) dig up as many as possible this season. Can store them easily. Figure out efficient process. Good fundraiser. Trellising & logistical stuff. Want to offer house for meeting spot in South Philly. Outreach is really good idea. South Asian refugee gardens, United Communities/SEPC/Houston Center for educational outreach & meetings.

  • Steve – tons of 2x4s.

  • Meenal – keeper of the vows.

  • Iwanka – non-profit, guild format 501(c)(7) & (8) – life insurance clause for one. Much less paperwork than 501(c)(3), get in touch with National Lawyer's Guild for further advice & what we want function to be, indicative to economic system. Mission statement: to reserve space to co-create a better world rooted in community. Purchasing lots: yes. Fundraise: crowd sourcing (go fund me – better than we pay system), also create a gift mechanism. Deed lots to communities as gift, green space for community moving forward, contextualization of us vs. them must be rid of (it's ours). Outreach: banner drops wherever we'll have event a week before, buy can of water protection stuff to paint banner (sealant/waterproofing), use someone's house nearby if they will allow it or vacant building. Good at generating ideas & communication. Want to be good at fun-raising. Help: offer ideas & communications to choose from cornucopia, different ways at different times. Accountability, etc.: determine how everyone communicates best (text/e-mail/FB/call/face to face) & build off of that, use integration at widggio.com (FREE). Meeting times: Sundays are great downtime, etc. Learn/teach: Love to learn more about gardens & how to build community around gardens, certain coming together that happens when we get together & share food, like how it breeds community.

  • Bri – secret handshake

  • Steph - Pff not non-profit yet. Fluidity & freedom was great when time available. Procuring materials great. Focus on 5 year vision, yields, heavy community involvement, better designs, charettes,/visioning meetings sustained through all seasons, wekeends good, maybe 2 nodes/different projects at 2 meetings. If individuals want backyards to be worked on, small projects could be done. Want more perennials, experimentation with grains as means of production as alternatives. More earthworks, effective water managing, store houses, irrigation, water catchment, swales, ponds, hugelkultur. Physical labor, children, design consultation, implementation, workshops, extremely flexible, will help in whatever way. Can reach communities & have meetings to see what people want to grow/need. Offer design for them. How to create micro-economies for themselves? Can work on funds based on us contributing. Fundraising potentials will become more clear when we come up with more clear goals. Mission Statement: READ & WRITE DOWN. Learn to build & tend, design & troubleshoot. Would like to be involved in distribution. Education can be more voluntary based on experiments at each garden on various days.

  • Matt Bennett – 2 years ago when trying to figure out what was going on, never thought he'd be sitting in a room like this. Really awesome. This year, workparties worked really well, the way we do it, rolling, having a good time but also developing social bonds & friendships & relationships that would be scattered throughout the city. Good to be around people who are doing whatever they want & don't care what laws are, etc. Love music, murals at MEEP, food, vibe at the end of the day. Education: Nature stories that we noticed on West Coast told once a week was really fun & learned a lot, coming together more formally for lunch & workshop/ learning?, Mission statement: OVL serves Philly as critical mass of guerilla gardening. Moving into spaces, putting stuff down, getting as many people together as possible, really successful at that. Critical mass is a leaderful group that changes direction with whoever feels up to something at any given moment. Would love to see chickens in a garden. Critical mass was movement that built over time, just keep doing it & doing it, & that changed things. Going to take a long time, as long as we're having a good time, we're succeeding. Formal things: Can partner with other groups that already do things – POP, bring workparty feel to their events? Like design charette, collaborative design & planning gardens in community meetings. I'm happy. Storytelling salon – Podcast online, POST. Collaborate Philly – young artists

  • Greg – video mini-WG? (ANDREW)

  • Iwanka – more podcasts & YouTube videos.

  • Meenal – workparty formula: work,

  • Jason Killinger: 2052 E Susquehanna lot

  • Vivek—organic? Yes. 501C3 questions seperate account

  • Robyn – lots to look into, going back to the sw philly may day location, jason has a lot on our block, mt morriah cemetary by the airport w/ deer, expansion out of and around Fairhill. We need more bloggers, fb updaters, email checkers. What is required to become a fb administrator/content/updates? Difference btwn OVL and PFF? Business model via Pat Friend. Do we need to decide on leadership position/accountability. Leaderful movement, not a Leaderless. Greater delegation of tasks-- there's a gathering on PA dec 21, looks awesome talk to Robyn. I REALLY want to grow mushrooms and more perennials. More winter and indoor growing. How do we deal with donation of money or goods? I've been self accounting for the last two years, but how long and well does that last. MORE photos/podcasts/videos of different perspectives. Fundraising via furhl, blockly, friends, the Thrift Store. Indygoo and kickstarter? Should we ever sell our plants and produce? What if we ever find out our produce is being sold? Should we get more involved in legal stuff? Council people? Sheds, composting bins, composting toilets-- great way to get unemployed neighborhood men to help out—great outreach. Discuss soup kitchen thing with Steph. Med herb and dye garden. Alternative currency system –rewards without money—sub committee needed for that. Manual for what we're doing, zines, door to door more where we work. Start new lots very slowly. Starting with a 10'x10' space for people who want gardens, seeing if they keep it. More outreach. More art. Teaching and learning from other groups. Outreach more imporant. Aquaponics. Love.

  • Next meeting Sunday, 11/25 location TBA


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