Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm starting this forum topic for anyone who is interested in talking about the new Aquaponics Association.  While nothing will be set in stone when we officially adopt the Charter at the Conference on Sept 16, we'd like to get it as close to representative of what the aquaponics community is hoping for by that time.

If you go to the page that we've set up on the Association site (click here) you can download the Charter and Organizational structure, and answer some questions about your constructive feedback and how can we give you value for your membership dues.  Please take the survey!

Feel free to ask any questions about what we are doing here - the Organizing Committee (myself, Gina Cavaliero, Murray Hallam and Wayne Hall) is an open book, and everyone is a member in this community site.  We are 100% committed to creating an organization that will serve aquaponics well...although we obviously won't be able to do everything right out of the gate, nor will we be able to make everyone happy.  

I'd like to start the discussion rolling by asking a question  that I asked on Murray's forum this morning - how can we bring value to both Individual Members and Commercial members for their dues?  We've listed several things we could do on the survey linked above.  What are we missing?  What sounds great?

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The idea behind the trustee structure as it is currently proposed in the charter is as you, TC, described it so well about 4300 posts ago (i.e. this morning, I think).  Those of us who are spending all this time creating and organizing this new Association, creating the website, and funding the incorporation legal fees, and who will have their names on the incorporation documents, bank accounts, etc...at least at the beginning...want to be sure that no matter what happens that the vision of the founders is consistently well carried out over the years. That said, last night we discussed the "lifetime" language and given the concerns expressed in here decided to modify that so that the trustees come up for a vote of the Board of Governers after 5 years.  That is enough time for the organization to fully realize the vision we hold for it.  BUT...I think we will also consider the alternative structure that Kellen described earlier and will get back to you all it.  Definitely possible...

sorry for some reason the paragraph after the smile keeps vanishing?

 

Does this mean some one who gets a great deal on IBC's and re-sells some of them now has to give up their individual membership?  Or some one who sells irrigation supplies as their "day job" can't hold office because irrigation supplies could also be sold for Aquaponics?

@ Sylvia - Thanks!  Same here sista.  Its been one cool ride!

@ Murray - spring water?  I am buying you a beer mate! :)

@ Tom - Thanks for all the support and positive reinforcement.  Looking forward to meeting you too and I will take you up on that offer.  Its Yuengling by the way.

@ Dave - No birth experience, but if this is anything like it, I am glad I didn't!  Thanks for the thanks! :)

@ Kellen, geez, we heard you the first time, you didn't have to say it twice!  ;-)  Just kidding.  

I understand your point, but I think we have a unique situation in this industry where there is a major amount of crossover among purveyors and your structure would eliminate practically everyone at the commercial level.  I am a commercial grower, but yet I also sell equipment, trainings, consultants, etc. and I think most everyone else at the commercial level to some degree supplies something.  How do we address that?  Just because what you are describing is a standard in other industries, doesn't necessarily mean it will cross over well to ours.  I think it may present a challenge but we may have to learn how to incorporate those companies or entities in a different way then just as an 'associate member' as you propose and not exclude them from voting and or executive positions.  Do you realize what you propose eliminates nearly every one at that level from serving?  Who would be left?

Perhaps taking these concerns into consideration, rules need to be in place to safeguard against the things you say would present conflicts.  

KISS TCL.... register as individual members... register any business entity as an "associate" non-voting member...

 

An associate member can still benefit from promotion opportunities etc... but will be seperated from the "association"...

 

The owner of the business.. as an individual member.. still has the opportunity to fully participate, and vote within the association....

 

And we can encompass all... without perceptions of "interests", or favour... of any group over and beyond another...

 

An individual member passing on a bulk purchase or surplus stuff... can't, or shouldn't be seen to be a "commercial" member...

 

That in itself raises a question though... the concept of a "commercial" grower, or business hasn't been defined in terms of scale... as your example illustrated...

Could a backyard grower selling a few excess veges... be called a commercial grower... and have a weighted vote.... or could they register a trading name... and obtain a weighted vote accordingly...

 

Or is "commercial" defined as an "incorporated" company???



W. Hall said:

Rupert

 

I responded to these same questions yesterday or so I thought

 

This particular section you are referring to regarding the Association Conference - Article 8.3 is a remnant and should in fact have been removed, again thank you for pointing this out. This particular section is being reworded to better reflect a consistency with the rest of the Charter, and to make sure that every member has equal footing on matters.

 

Look forward to seeing the revision Wayne... but does it address the questions I raised as to what levels any "weighted vote" apply to....

 

Or are you suggesting that the entire weighting concept has been removed completely... at all levels??

 

...

We have listened carefully to all the views expressed and have identified areas which require further review and clarification, that being one of the areas.

RupertofOZ said:


W. Hall said:

Rupert

 

I responded to these same questions yesterday or so I thought

 

This particular section you are referring to regarding the Association Conference - Article 8.3 is a remnant and should in fact have been removed, again thank you for pointing this out. This particular section is being reworded to better reflect a consistency with the rest of the Charter, and to make sure that every member has equal footing on matters.

 

Look forward to seeing the revision Wayne... but does it address the questions I raised as to what levels any "weighted vote" apply to....

 

Or are you suggesting that the entire weighting concept has been removed completely... at all levels??

 

...

But Rupert, I don't really see how this actually eliminates any "conflict of interest" the individual member who is the owner of a business still has interests in the business.

RupertofOZ said:

KISS TCL.... register as individual members... register any business entity as an "associate" non-voting member...

 

An associate member can still benefit from promotion opportunities etc... but will be seperated from the "association"...

 

The owner of the business.. as an individual member.. still has the opportunity to fully participate, and vote within the assciation....

 

And we can encompass all... without perceptions of "interests", or favour... of any group over and beyond another...


But I'm gonna agree that it's a good idea (provided the owner is allowed to be an individual member and not disqualified for being a business owner too) This would be the way for a business to get the advertizing opportunities/benefits and pay for it thus being a good thing for the association and the associated business......  AND still allow the individual member to have their vote and run for office.  And showing the business as an associate member is a good transparent way of allowing them to advertize and showing they support the association while not seeming like the business is hiding behind or trying to BE the association.
It would seem an easy way to resolve some matters to me...
Rupert you are making suggestions. Is it your intention if the charter makes changes to better the charter you will put your name in the hat and become a leader and lend the community your knowledge or are you going to remain on the sidelines. Not really saying put up or shut up just curious as your interest level is high, but is your commitment level the same.
RupertofOZ said:
It would seem an easy way to resolve some matters to me...

This is where it needs to be.  In response to the last part, though, I don't see any reason to consider whether any level of produce sales should qualify someone as commercial.  The idea of having an individual membership for anyone who wants to have one and a non-voting associate membership for the business entity would take care of this.  If someone is small enough scale that they don't have a business entity, or has one but doesn't see any benefit to the business entity buying an associate membership, then they can choose not to buy the associate membership and just continue on as an individual member.

 

As far as what you get for an associate membership, how about the opportunity to display wares at the annual convention in a trade show venue.  Not an associate member?  Sorry, you don't get to display to the membership.  Advertising in the association newsletter?  Buy an associate membership for your business and you'll qualify to purchase an ad.  Free classifieds for general members, of course. 

 

I'm sure there's more stuff to make a non-voting associate membership worth having.

 

RupertofOZ said:

KISS TCL.... register as individual members... register any business entity as an "associate" non-voting member...

 

An associate member can still benefit from promotion opportunities etc... but will be seperated from the "association"...

 

The owner of the business.. as an individual member.. still has the opportunity to fully participate, and vote within the association....

 

And we can encompass all... without perceptions of "interests", or favour... of any group over and beyond another...

 

An individual member passing on a bulk purchase or surplus stuff... can't, or shouldn't be seen to be a "commercial" member...

 

That in itself raises a question though... the concept of a "commercial" grower, or business hasn't been defined in terms of scale... as your example illustrated...

Could a backyard grower selling a few excess veges... be called a commercial grower... and have a weighted vote.... or could they register a trading name... and obtain a weighted vote accordingly...

 

Or is "commercial" defined as an "incorporated" company???

David, I've never opposed the "association" outrightly... if modifications could be made... and I'd certainly be much more attracted to involvement with the modifications that are being proposed...

 

As to a personal level of involvement... I'm not ducking the question... but I'm not sure what level of commitment I could give at the moment due to a health problem.. that could have significant long term impact on many areas of my life and lifestyle...

 

I'll know more in the next few weeks...

David Waite said:

Rupert you are making suggestions. Is it your intention if the charter makes changes to better the charter you will put your name in the hat and become a leader and lend the community your knowledge or are you going to remain on the sidelines. Not really saying put up or shut up just curious as your interest level is high, but is your commitment level the same.

I agree completely Chris... I just raised the fact, particularly with regard to the "weighted vote" issue...

 

That there wasn't really a definition of a "commercial" membership...that might relate to a voting allocation...

Chris Cates said:

This is where it needs to be.  In response to the last part, though, I don't see any reason to consider whether any level of produce sales should qualify someone as commercial.  The idea of having an individual membership for anyone who wants to have one and a non-voting associate membership for the business entity would take care of this.  If someone is small enough scale that they don't have a business entity, or has one but doesn't see any benefit to the business entity buying an associate membership, then they can choose not to buy the associate membership and just continue on as an individual member.

 

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