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Local Charters of NCGA

  • Subject: [cg] Local Charters of NCGA
  • From: "John Quintero" <quinterojohn@hotmail.com>
  • Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 20:54:55 -0700

Dear CGA Board of Directors:

I have been interested in a different kind of approach than simply sending 
in our "dues" and becoming a solitary member of the association; based on 
the history of American associations of the national kind, it would seem 
possibly more advantageous to all concerned to create a "charter" 
organization relationship, as have done other kinds of "charity" or "special 
interest" organization. It seems to me that a local lobby backed by the 
National umbrella would provide a serious political clout.

I would, with all due respect, formally request, as a representative Board 
member of the single largest community garden in the San Francisco Bay Area, 
to ask to open discussions about the establishment of such a relationship 
with your organization. In other words, I would like permission to recruit a 
local Board of Directors that would be willing to enter into and sign a  
Charter Membership, representing the goals of the National Organization at 
the local level. We would offer memberships for a "district" charter, and 
send a percentage of local dues to the National Office.

I think it may be possible that extending "grassroots" out in this 
traditional manner might very well be far more effective and self-sustaining 
financially than the contemporary modern development of the professionalized 
industry of "non-profit" corporations.

We have discussed this at length in our meetings of the Hayward Community 
Gardens Sub-Committee on Urban Garden Development; we feel rather naked 
entering into tenure seeking relations with the social structures around us 
(corporate, municipal and state agencies)and if there existed a tangible 
local social structure whose intent was to act as a lobby with national 
backing, we might feel far more confident in ourselves. It just seems that a 
"charter" arrangement has worked well for other societies, (Audobon, Sierra 
Club, the Grange, etc.)that it might provide a deeper sense of belonging for 
that set of individuals who are interested in urban (and rural) community 
Gardening. We have over 100 gardens in the greater Bay Area, and if each 
member of each of those gardens were to have an automatic membership to a 
larger organization by the very virtue of their membership to the particular 
garden, the National Organization would thus be enabled to raise the 
conciousness of untold millions of people, since these "roots" would touch 
people exponentially. You could then get the mailing address of thousands of 
individuals, rather than handfuls of "institutions."

I hope my vehemence about this strategic political option does not feel 
abrasive; it is just that my hopes far outrace the actual demoralizing 
experience of a local pro-urban garden activist, and being out here in the 
trenches, as thousands around the nation an world are, provides me practical 
vision of the entire forest. Yet, because of the lack of a truly unifying 
social agency, I seem to be more connected with the "global" picture than I 
am with gardeners in nearby cities, and that just doesn't make any sense.

Respectfully and Hopefully Yours
John R Quintero
VP of Public Affairs, Hayward Community Gardens, Inc.
510-727-9924 or 510-538-8901
25052 Whitman Street
Hayward, CA 94541

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