Borders Organic Gardeners Business Meeting 18th January 2015
Low Greens, Berwick-upon-Tweed


Prue Pullen, Michael van Beinum, Keith Banyard, Sue Watts, Robert Leetham, David Griggs, Nick Prior and Barbara Graham  referred to by initials below
Gale Maclaine, Joyce Ambrose, Sarah Eno, Andy Swales, Mike Murray, Birgitta Pavos Murray, Tom Stewart

1    Minutes of last meeting 2nd November 2014
Proposed by RL, seconded by MvB and accepted.

2    Matters arising
Website – KB raised the issue of the old BOG website address  ( still appearing on many websites and directing people to a page of advertisements.  NP is trying to buy back the domain name so that anyone using it will still arrive at the BOG website.  If you come across a page using the old name please send the page address (URL) to him at
RL will include a piece in the newsletter reminding people about the new website address.
GQT – PP will investigate the hall at Langlee, Galashiels as a possible venue for BOG to host a recording of BBC GQT.

3    Potato Day
RL reported that the potatoes, onion sets and shallots have all been ordered and there will be approximately 110 varieties of potato this year totalling 2.3 tons which is slightly more than last year and includes 6 -10 new varieties.

Publicity – David Banks has offered to help with publicity if we provide him with ideas and PP to contact him to see if he would give us some leads to promote Potato Day.  Ideas suggested for publicity angles included 20th anniversary of Potato Day, Scottish Year of Food and Drink
Hexam Courant may run an article on organic gardening in the near future which would include a mention of Potato day.
KB offered to work with Tom Stewart on a poster which could be circulated to members for them to print and put up locally.
Website searches about Potato Day will be automatically directed to a dedicated page on the website
RL will contact Cheryl Grassam for a list of stall holders to go on the website.

PP will draft a notice requesting volunteers which will go out in the next E-News, check that the insurance extension has been remembered, check BOG risk assessment from previous years and contact St John’s Ambulance about First Aiders.
SW will complete BUAS risk assessment.
MvB will arrange floats with help from RL.
Liz Howells will distribute surplus potatoes to schools.  It would be nice if we could find out what schools do with their potatoes.
Any remaining potatoes will go to Peelham Farm for pig feed.
Roberta Carruthers will manage the tasting table.  It was suggested that a donations box should be placed on the tasting table and possibly at other locations around the hall.
KB will reorder paper bags and has a stock of jute bags.
NP will be responsible for signs within the hall.  He will contact Sarah Eno about the printer and laminator. He will also put the banner at the show-ground gate the week before the event.

The possibility of the Green Party having a stall was discussed but it was felt to be inappropriate and that BOG should remain completely non political.

Clarity was sought on who pays for stalls and who is considered a charity.  It was decided that if an organisation is selling goods they should pay traders rates, if not selling goods then charity stalls are free.  There needs to be a limit on the number of free stalls.

Tom Stewart has suggested Potato Day would be an ideal opportunity to recruit new members.  It was decided that more memberships forms would be available and information on joining would be included in the program.  As people are queuing to pay or outside before the doors open would be good times to approach them to discuss BOG.

4    Programme dates 2015
Details of visits to be included in the next newsletter were discussed. Confirmed details to RL by 23rd January please.
Kelso garden planning workshop 22nd March.
PP to confirm details for Whitton Willow Plantation provisionally 25/26th April.
Thirlstane plant exchange and business meeting Saturday 9th May.
PP to confirm Oxnam plant exchange 30/31st May.
SW to confirm details for Hunting Hall, Lowick 7th June.

PP will contact Cheryl Grassam to discuss whether she would be available for a visit later in the year.  Will also visit Over Langshaw Farm with Sarah Eno to assess suitability for a visit.
A summer pruning workshop is planned for late July at PP or BG’s garden.  To be confirmed later.
More suggestions are needed for late summer visits.

BUAS Childrens Day will be on 19th May this year and PP and BG thought last years involvement was worthwhile and that we should take part again this year.

PP will approach Garden Organic about holding their AGM in this area one year.

5    BOG officer emails
Emails addressed to sec@ and info@ will in future go to Joyce Ambrose.
Vchair@ and vicechair@ email addresses will be removed as we currently have no vice chair.
NP will alter these.

As many of the more active members are not office holders people are often not sure who to copy emails to.  NP suggested more subgroups to deal with specific topics.  SW leads the Potato Day group and this works well.  A group to focus on the programme of visits would be very useful.

Ideas about how to promote membership were discussed and it was felt that collaboration with other groups would be beneficial (see 7 below).
Members working with local schools on their gardens would be good and maybe if the school had a garden open day BOG could set up a stall.

6    E-News mailing list
RL will include an item in the next newsletter asking people to check their junk or spam folders to check if the E-News mails are being directed there.  It appears that a large number of people are not receiving them and this may be the cause.

NP suggested that we collect email addresses of people interested in BOG who are not members.  We could send them information about the organisation and we might gain new members this way.  Talking to people at Potato day would be an ideal opportunity to gather email addresses.
He also suggested a list of organisations with similar aims who might like to receive periodic information from BOG.
NP will set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for BOG. * see below

7    Greener Borders Winter Talks
Six Borders environmental organisations have expressed an interest in coming together to put on a series of talks over the winter, starting in January. These talks will be on an environmental theme but not just about the organisations themselves. The important thing is that we will all support each other’s speakers as well as opening it out to the wider public.
The 6 organisations are: Borders Forest Trust,  Borders Organic Gardeners,  Borders Paths Group,  Earlston Orchard Town,  Fair Trade Group and  Greener Melrose.
The first talk will take place on Wednesday 21st January and details are on the BOG website

BOG will provide a speaker on 21st October and MvB has offered to talk about Environmental Decision Making if he is free.  He will confirm later.

8    Berwick Food & Beer Festival
Dates for this year are 5th & 6th September.  It was decided to attend again this year.  More produce for the stall would be needed and literature to try to attract new members.

9    AOB
MvB would like to undertake a survey of members’ gardens.  He will supply a list of questions to NP who will set it up to be completed on line. There will also be an item for the newsletter to introduce the idea.

Scottish Borders Land Use Strategy Pilot Study is looking at integrating land use for farming and wildlife to make it more sustainable.  Local consultation meetings are being held and the Midlem area meeting is on 27th January .  More details are available here
MvB will write a few words to accompany the link and NP will post on the website.

Liz Howells from Scottish Bee keepers Assoc. is offering to put hives in BOG members gardens if they are suitable.  It was agreed this would be a good idea.  RL will put  an item written by Liz Howells in the newsletter.

Finance – MvB reported that our current balance is £3,741.42

Next meeting – The next meeting will take place at 10.30 Saturday 9th May at Thirlstane.  This will be followed by a shared lunch and plant exchange.

*  Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created.
Twitter username: bordersorganic ( Refer in tweets or direct messages to @bordersorganic)
If you already use Twitter and you wish to use hashtags in your own tweets I would suggest the following: #bordersorganicgardeners