From the Coordinator's Desk
Nellie Robertson, OFGA coordinator
Happy New Year!
With the 2019 season behind us, I hope you feel ready for 2020! I’d like to thank everyone who has renewed their membership to the end of this year, and hope to connect with you in person, on the phone, or through email. As usual, I’ll start this newsletter with some association matters and celebrations. Enjoy the articles that follow, and don’t miss our new opportunities!
Many of you took the time to renew your membership as part of our “membership extension” initiative. Now that we now who is part of our community, let’s get to know each other and pool our resources together!
In order to provide more useful information and to be able to connect you with the right people within the industry, we would like to learn more about you. We have prepared a “Membership Questionnaire” with some quick questions; it really shouldn’t take long (maybe 5-15 minutes) for you to fill it out.
I was on the phone recently with someone interested in OFGA. When I hung up, my son, who is eight and can be a lot like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, asked me who I was talking with. I found it difficult to summarize my hour-long conversation, so I simply asked what he wanted to know. After a little pause, he asked what he thought was most important to know when you are getting to know someone. I included his question in the Membership Questionnaire.
It would be great to receive your responses by January 31, so we could start planning our events and activities for the rest of the year. Thank you!
We are keeping the “Member Map” feature on our newly designed website, and we would like to update it with accurate information. Our membership questionnaire (above) will ask you, among other things, about the information you would like to share on our website. It is a great resource for customers and other growers to find you, and we will have it up and running as soon as we receive your responses. You can check out the already entered information here: OFGA Member Map.
As an exciting new program, we are happy to announce a new membership form, initiated by the Board of Directors at their November 21 meeting. We are calling it organizational membership, and it is offered to businesses, service providers, other not-for-profit organizations, as long as they agree to our mission and adhere to our guiding principles. Once they become part of our community, we will include their information on our “Resources” page. Once a month, I will share news and opportunities from these members with all of you, and they will have a chance to advertise in the newsletter as well. I’m excited to introduce one of our first organizational members below, in the Celebrations section.
If you can recommend companies, organizations that could take advantage of this membership opportunity, please send me an email! We are looking for businesses whose products you have found useful, services that help you in your operations, to create a win-win situation. Please talk to them about OFGA or let us know their contact details, and we’ll get in touch.
We would like your help! It is conference season, and there are some things you can do to help us fulfill our mission.
If you enjoy an event or find the presented information especially useful, please share your experience with us! We will publish articles about past events in our newsletter and also share these on our website for everyone to learn from.
We also have trifold brochures available to let others know about what we do. If you are participating in a workshop or attending an event with like-minded growers, take a few copies with you! Please contact us and we can mail you copies already printed and ready to share.
Don’t forget, if you ordered rootstock through the OFGA program, it will be available for picking up at the MOSES conference. Check your email for more details!
It has been a busy holiday season and I’m excited about the things we have accomplished in the last quarter as well as the upcoming activities in the year ahead.
Our new website, updated with newsletter articles, opportunities, event lists for members and visitors, is gaining more and more traffic daily.
We are getting ready for the grafting workshop, scionwood exchange, and our annual meeting at the MOSES conference. If you are attending, you will have a chance to learn from OFGA members in almost every time slot. Check out our website for more information!
Our Listserv continues to be a great free resource for anyone interested in the fruit-growing industry. If you are not a Google Groups OFGA member yet, read more here about how and why to join.
We are working on improving our services to members and fulfilling our mission more efficiently with the new organizational membership option. I’m excited to work with our partners on this new initiative, and I would like to welcome Diana Shipman, Associate Director of Volunteer Programs at ACDI/VOCA to our community! Check out the note from her here, and keep an eye on your email and the OFGA website for more opportunities throughout the year.
I hope that many of you will connect with Diana to see how you can take advantage of their programs and help more farmers grow organic fruit all over the world.
Now without further delay, I will turn the stage over to our authors, bringing you great articles to enjoy and share. I wish you all a great start to the new season and hope to meet you somewhere along the way.
Until next time,