Minutes of Annual General Meeting Borders Organic Gardeners

Smailholm Village Hall : 10am 25.11.07

Present : David Banks, Keith Banyard, David Brettell, Jayne Brettell, Roberta Carruthers, David Catt, Marina Catt, Judith Davison, David Griggs, Valerie Hunter, Robert Leetham, Frances Lindsay, Peter Lindsay, Beatrys Lockie, Ruth Morozzo, Frances Teckkam, Sue Watts, Maggie Warner, Bill Smith, Val Smith, Liz Cameron, Jim Cameron, Tom Stewart, Andrea Hawes, Kathryn Potts, Blair Cummock, Sarah Cummock.

Apologies: Gemma Banks, Joy and Steve Elves, Sarah Eno, Pam Boyd, Dave Allan, Jane Allan, Laura Aitken, Lorraine Douglas.

1. Minutes of AGM 2006 : Approved unanimously

3. Introductory remarks by Chairman : David Brettell is standing down after 3 years as chairman. He has greatly enjoyed his time and thanked members for their enthusiastic support and input to events. Although membership is large (over 400) a small band (up to 40) of the same old faces tends to appear at events and the difficulty is to try to connect and involve newer members.

4. Reports :

Events West (Ruth Morozzo). Some of these were very successful and others not so. Successes : Maxpoffle (social and potato sampling), Beatrys Lockies wonderful garden, grafting at the Elves’, getting started in Hawick, willow workshop (many thanks to Marina) and the Catts’ polytunnel. Failures : Midsummer picnic (cancelled due to weather), Lindean garden cancelled. Thanks to Jayne for setting up framework.

Events East (Jayne Brettell) Organic gardening tips in April at Lowick was very successful, midsummer picnic at Keith’s, the apple pruning at Crookham , and the Open garden by Liz and Jim were all good. The trip to Bide a wee was spoilt by bad weather.
Potato Day (Roberta Carruthers). Thanks to everyone for their help in making this a big success. The hall is booked, potatoes ordered, press releases organised, talks organised already for next year. There will be a new speaker from Newcastle University who has conducted a project on the difference in nutritional value between organic and non organically produced vegetables. Costs will be higher so may have to make entrance fee higher. There will be further meetings in Roberta’s house. Chairman thanked Roberta for her hard work which has paid off as Potato Day has raised the profile of BOG.

Produce Day (Judith) Went well. Very good display of fruit, flowers, veg, photos of members’ gardens, Heritage varieties, tastings, Catastrophe Cup. Proceeds to Farm Africa. General plan to have this as annual event. Next year could link to Berwick Slow Food Festival (2nd week September)

Apple Day (Jayne Brettell) . Very successful, so much so that Harestanes said it was their busiest day of the year. Weather good also. Huge thanks to Bill and Val Smith for their tasting and juicing setup. Masses of produce to sell. Jayne will step down from organisation of it next year. Thanks to everyone who helped.
Publicity David Banks stepped in at last minute and sent previews to several local papers including the Southern Reporter. These were published. Also contacted Radio Borders and Radio Newcastle. Wrote to local papers afterwards to thank them and to send reports and photos which they published.

Newsletter (Robert Leetham) Thanks to Maggie Warner for proofreading and to Blair for layout. 3 issues per year published and have had 15 individual contributors. This is the hardest part of the job – more contributions sought.

Website (Frances Teckkam). Although there was meant to be a website demo this cannot now take place as there is no internet connection or projector, just some printed pages to look at. Website now running and can be used as blog and forum. Not many contributors so far. To log in need to make sure Maggie Warner has your email address. Can be accessed by general public but not added to by them, only members. Suggestion for a Q and A section but who would supply answers?. More people need to be encouraged to use website so it can be a help before events. This can be mentioned in the Newsletter. Suggestion that emails be sent without info but with link to website instead! Frances thanked for her hard work and also Judith for putting material on site.

Secretary Thanks to all the Events organisers. 2 excellent talks took place – one by Michael Shallis in Kelso (competing against Choral practise next door) on green issues which was well attended, and one on the Slow Food Movement which was not so well attended. BOG sponsored prizes for a tray of organically produced vegetables (at least 4 types) at 2 Village shows, Norham and Southdene. Prize of £10 and 1 year’s free subscription to BOG. BOG also volunteered to hold the Garden Organic AGM but this will not be possible till 2010 at the earliest. There is also a possibility of a Gardeners Question Time in Berwick in conjunction with the Slow Food Festival . Recordings are planned 3-6 months in advance so a venue would be needed and an audience of at least 200 generated. Many thanks to Judith for organising everything so well. A new member commented that the focus at produce Day was on taste and growing conditions unlike agricultural shows where appearance is all, and she hoped BOG would lead the way in changing this attitude. General view was that visitors to Produce Day were surprised and pleased by the variety of produce and other things on offer.

Literature (Marina and David Catt) This has now expanded from books to jute bags.(£2.50). Many thanks to Marina and David for their effort in transporting everything. Beatrys Lockie has her book on display (Gardening with children) and has worked with Roberton and Ettrick primary school children.

Membership (Maggie Warner) Similar numbers to last year, and an increase in those paying more than the minimum subscription (£6 – 20). Decision not to increase membership fee because BOG has surplus and the subs cover running costs.

Woodside Lorraine Douglas, the BOG director who liaises with ASK was unable to attend. David Catt said a recent Leader+ had visited to Woodside and declared themselves happy with the project. The horsetail trial has one more growing season to run.

Sundries (Sarah Cummock) This to be discontinued so many thanks to the Sarah for doing it. Some materials left which can be sold at potato day or put in next Newsletter. Stallholders at Potato Day might also now stock some of what we used to sell. (eg Woodside Nursery).

Seeds (Robert Leetham) Deadline for seed order is 7th January 2008. Seeds from the organic catalogues get a 15% discount because of bulk buying.

5. Treasurer’s Report (Keith Banyard) Complications with accounts recently because having prepared accounts to September 06, had to redo them for Companies house to February 06 (17months) and pay fine. Because the year end was changed to 31 March 07 second set is for 13 months (as they include 2 Potato Days they look impressive). These figures also include the Wilcox legacy and a Leader+ grant for the Woodside project. Next year will be a 12 month period. Current balance is about £5500 so no cash flow problems, and we can afford to fund some projects in line with BOG’s ideals. Our funds are not great enough to require a formal audit, but an accountant has been kind enough to look over them for us.

6. Appointment of Office bearers All those in post agreed to continue apart from the Chair and Vice Chair, and Western organiser. Treasurer and Secretary were reelected unanimously.
Sarah Eno proposed as Chair by Keith, seconded Beatrys. Sue Watts proposed as Vice Chair by David Brettell, seconded by David Catt. David Brettell stepped down from the Chair and Sue Watts took over, in the absence of Sarah Eno. David Catt agreed to take over meantime as Western organiser. The 5 Directors (David Catt, Pam Boyd, Lorraine Douglas, Chairman, Vice Chairman) were re elected unanimously.The display material BOG has needs to be updated and put on display boards so it can be taken to meetings. Frances Lindsay has agreed to do this as well as look after the photos displays. 6. Appointment of Company Secretary Strictly speaking the Directors should appoint the Company Secretary but not all were present. The directors will consult on this. Judith is happy to continue in the post. 7. Any Other Business : Paxton Walled Garden funding : David Brettell has been approached about an application by 2 people wishing to restore the disused Paxton Walled Garden to its former state on its original organic lines as a commercial, demonstration and historical venture . They plan to have it part classroom, part laid out as before and have worked on archive material. BOG to fund up to £500 of the initial costs and assist with support but not leadership. Paxton requires it to make a profit. Meeting agreed to support this.School tree planting Marina has been approached about money for trees to be planted in school grounds. Robert said plenty of grants available for this and he would let Marina know about them.Seed sowing in schools Robert Leetham requested some seeds from the seed order to allow pre school children in Berwick to sow seeds in containers. This was agreed.Idea about a green guideline for BOG With environmental and climate change in mind Marina circulated some ideas of how we Boggers might formulate a one page green guideline ideal. We could have this as an extra together with the membership form but carefully worded so as not to be prescriptive and put people off. Another idea could be car sharing to meetings (could contact via website). She proposed a working group to meet and produce this list. This can be put on the website and in the newsletter. She has also put up a board of things people want to recycle (free). This too could be on the website. Meeting ended at 12.30 to allow an hour for the usual excellent lunch to be followed by a discussion about next year’s events, which Jayne has already drawn up in outline.

Minutes prepared by Frances Lindsay and Judith Davison