Minutes from Conference Call w/ Amy Laura

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Jan 9, 2013, 6:08:33 PM1/9/13
to occupy-va...@googlegroups.com
Hey good folk, here is my hodge podge of notes taken during the conference call. Before getting to the notes (1.4.13, 10.30 am-11.30 am), just want you to know that

 there will be a meeting at Amy's office, next Friday, same kablam time (10.30). with option to join in on a conference call.

Marlon was also present for the call! Much was discussed, and much action is being taken. Get in touch with Amy Laura if you are interested in joining in on anything. I personally signed up for meeting with councilpeople as well as expressed interest in the media effort.
I was 10 minutes late on entering the call, so the context surrounding the lobbyist is unclear to me

Should this endeavor/organization have a lobbyist?
-[Name] has agreed to take on group as client($3000) to network and personally set up meetings with councilmembers and aiding with pushing legislation. Proposed to lobby on our behalf(insider to our outsider-ness)
      -We discussed whether or not this was something worthwhile and if we're doing alright with everything on our own.
                     -general consensus seemed to agree that we're doing alright, but it is worth the discussion
                           -after the bill goes to the vote, what would we use the lobbyist for and wouldn't that cost more $$/take more time.

Evaluate and use our individual networks as organizations for outreach(present also was PHS and Field House West).
         -can we establish a communications "point person" from PFF/OVaL to oversee these communications and keep in touch with Amy?
         -the website for the bill(I do not know it) is another useful tool
         -Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is currently drafting language to place on physical postcards to hand out which will thereby be sent to other organizations to use
         -A man named Nick offered to get in touch with CDCs across city for further outreach in other neighborhoods
         -The language on the postcard was offered to be translated into several languages to be given out in South Philly refugee neighborhoods with gardeners there

The strategy seems at the moment to arrange meetings with individual councilmembers and have discussions about the benefit of community gardens and do educational seminars and discussions with them to clarify the function these spaces provide communities.
        -Chair of Sustainability needs to be contacted--does anyone have a rapport with her? If so, let Amy know.
       -For these meetings it was proposed that more than a couple people show up, to have more presence there and PHS will be gathering some of their Garden Tenders city wide to   attend these meetings.
        -I, Stephanie, expressed interest in going to these meetings to have discussions with councilmembers. I am specifically interested in changing the rhetoric(that is, I think calling community gardens in a political atmosphere diminishes their worth on the political spectrum and believe the existing community gardens needs to be lumped into the overall category of urban agriculture. I would like help in formulating a cohesive statement about the necessity for our city to begin to think of community gardens as alternative, viable infrastructure to meet the changing demands place on resources and distribution in the 21st century--but be less cerebrally intellectual about it, of course)
       -Councilmember Johnathan was mentioned- who are his constituents?
       -Councilmember Jones- constituents?
       -Councilmembers at large

The overall strategy is not to attack the ammendments but to ask that the entire bill gets voted down to maintain the integrity of the current zoning bill.
        -But within this framework our bottom line is that urban ag should not be restricted.
               -which brought up the concern that: no one in city council could answer why community gardens were placed n the "list"(need clarification on what the list is)
                     -a potential strategy and talking point with councilmembers is to find out why community gardens are on this list and then defend them
    -apparently councilman O'Neill said he wasn't opposed to community gardens, but there were just "too many" (round of laughter ensued)
       -Another danger that was referenced specifically to OVaL/PFF was that some councilmembers are concerned that farmers from "the outside" are coming to neighborhoods and starting things. Amy asked if we could specifically state our motives to alleviate unfounded suspicions.
        -It was furthermore suggested that anyone from these groups could simply go to Councilman O'Neill and ask him why. The woman, Rita, who lives in the area was hesitant to address him because she's been trying to get land in his district and would prefer if someone else could do it.
      -Amy also suggested that we tread carefully not to spite ourselves. In our outreach efforts, we need to NOT say that the approval of this pending legislation would make community gardens illegal because there is potential litigation to legitimize gardens on CMX2. It is important for us to use the figure: If "", then 20% of current gardens will be AT RISK.

Amy also asked for help concerning defending gardens with different language.

                        -Emerald Street working on this
                              -this topic was deferred to a smaller working group, for time's sake.
                       General gist though, is this:
                                   -Reach all major PHL media, neighborhood papers and civic associations
                                   -City Paper and Inquirer(there is currently and interview in the works with the Inquirer about this)
                       Marlon volunteered to be a contact for reporters for PFF and also said he would ask others in group about it if anyone had other interest.
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