President's Report November 2012

As I prepare to hand over to the next President I’ve thought back to late 2010 – what I hoped to achieve, what we did achieve, and what remains to be done.
In 2010 I determined that moving the Hort into the web era was the most positive task and the one with the most potential for savings in the annual budget. I’m happy to report that two years later, we have largely completed the transition, have saved about 20% of our annual expenditures, and have lots of room for new material and ideas in our new newsletter and website. In fact, one of the win-win challenges for the Hort going forward will be to make more use, and more creative use, of the capabilities we now have for colour illustrations, for links, and for up-to-the-minute feedback to and from our members. Plus, we can do all this within our existing smaller production budget.
This success is largely due to the hard work of the Newsletter and Web committees, and I would like especially to thank Barbara Japp, Emieke Geldof, Michael Geldof, Kathy Andrechuk, Bill Cheng, and Judy Whalen for their efforts. Some change comes with losses. I would be the first to admit that our print-only newsletter had more elegant formatting, but its costs in both people time and $$ were higher than the new solution and we could not provide colour images. Most of membership have digital cameras – please send us some of your lovely garden or plant pictures.
In 2010 I thought we could increase the number of new younger members of the Hort. We have been only modestly successful, and I’d identify this as one of the most important priorities for us all going forward. Go meet those new neighbours who have a pot of basil or marigolds, chat with them, perhaps offer them a cutting from your garden, and invite them to a Hort meeting to enjoy a great speaker. And be sure to introduce them to other Hort members in your neighbourhood! This is how we grow.
I spent a significant amount of time in 2011 looking to find ways for us to tap into other sources of financing, such as charitable status. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that this is not feasible for us in the short term. However, there are many sources of plant and garden material, tools, and small grants which we can look at in the future. I think with a bit of focus on this, we could easily double our funding for community projects in the years to come.
It’s been an interesting two years! I thank the Board and all the volunteers in the Hort who have made it possible.
- Clement Kent
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