Well, I have been a busy body in the last while, meeting with all sorts of people and talking about urban farming.  So, what has happened:

It looks like I have secured some funding for the urban farming working groups, though the exact amount is not yet determined.  I am hoping to generate more donations elsewhere and use this money to get matching funds through the OSDP grants, for which the application is due Nov. 12 (very F*ing soon).

I am considering back tracking a bit on the Meet & Greet and holding it after the working groups.  This would be a good time to present the information to the public instead of bringing the public together without having done any work yet.  This will help reduce the amount of organizational work that goes into moving this project forward and greatly reduce the costs associated with it.  The more I think about it, the more sense it makes.  Perhaps we can then leverage the work we have done in the working groups to raise funds for the Meet & Greet.

In the interests of moving this project forward effectively and successfully I have been seriously considering hiring a facilitator to help plan and execute the working groups.  I feel if we want this effort to be successful that it needs to be carried out properly.  A facilitator will greatly aid this process.  I met with a potential facilitator yesterday and had a great meeting – reaffirming that this is a good idea!  Rates are about $100/hour and would include a big pre-planning process.  This is what a bulk of any funds would go to as other things (e.g., space, supplies) can more easily be found for cheap or free.

In terms of the Nov. 22 initial urban farmer meeting the response so far has been fairly positive. I have 12 confirmed attendees out of about 31 invitations, with only one decline so far.  In the interest of keeping the meeting productive I am hoping we will have a clear agenda set by Nov. 1st.  Currently, there are a few issues I think should be discussed.

  • This is an ideal time for urban farmers to share their projects with other urban farmers and other supporters of urban farming
  • This is an ideal time for supporters of urban farming to hear what urban farmers are doing and thus get a better idea of of the momentum of the movement and how they can best help.  It also demonstrates organization of farmers which bodes well for long-term project sustainability
  • This is a chance to discuss a few important topics in urban farming as a group:
    • Defining urban farming
      • Important for differentiating it from other UA activities
      • Important for effectively soliciting for funding or support
      • Effective way to better understand the dynamic differences between various UA activities
    • Discussing desire/need/role of urban farming network
      • The point of these meetings is to unite farmers and develop a network if desired.
      • Chance for collaborators such as BOB to express their vision and role in such a network.
    • Discussing working groups, Meet & Greet, and where we go from here.

I think these topics would be sufficient for good conversation for a first meeting and will help keep us focused.  It would be very easy to get into  some very big conversations about urban farming and not make any progress in this meeting.