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THE CRFG E-BULLETIN

Charles Allen, assembler
Vol. 1

WHY A BULLETIN?
This is a place to easily and briefly communicate across the CRFG. If it succeeds, it will become a way to exchange ideas, ask for help, make suggestions, and get better acquainted.

The success of this Bulletin depends entirely on whether you find it useful enough to send in material for subsequent issues. We'll try it for a few weeks and continue only if there is enough response make it worthwhile.

For this issue only I'll write the material, but after we need your contributions. Similar headings will be used in each Bulletin for news from chapters, the board, Campaign 360, and from CRFG members in general.

WHAT'S GOING ON AT CHAPTERS?
This is a place to say a few words about what is going on in your chapter, especially if it might be useful to others. Don't feel that it must be something everyone will be interested in.

The Inland Empire Chapter has been charging $5 for a monthly newsletter (since 1986). It now costs $12 to send it out, so we have gone to $15 for nonmembers and $10 for CRFG members. What was the reaction? At the meeting when we announced the increase only one comment was picked up, and it was "that's not so bad". We'll see how many of our subscribers (about 150) drop out next year, and how many opt for CRFG membership. Only about half of the newsletter subscribers are now CRFG members, but of those who regularly attend meetings more than 80% are.

Views from the various chapters seem to vary widely on what should be allowed for "chapter membership"; all the way from making chapter newsletters available only to CRFG members to allowing separate chapter membership (even though CRFG by-laws specifically disallow it). In the Inland Empire Chapter have some chapter board members firmly in the later camp, but none in the former.

We have just started a seed exchange. It seems to be quite popular. That, and our greatly expanded videotape library, are available only to CRFG members.

WHAT'S THE BOARD UP TO?
The next meeting of the CRFG Board will be on August 16 in San Luis Obispo. Is there anything you feel should be on the agenda?

A draft revision of the 1997 CRFG by-laws is up for approval by the board. After that, the revised by-laws will be presented to CRFG membership for approval. Copies of the new draft (pdf file) and 1997 version (Microsoft Word file) are attached. Changes include a provision for doing business by e-mail, a requirement that chapters encourage meeting attendees to join CRFG, and some changes in the board offices. The new by-laws will be included in a revised CRFG operating manual.

As you know by now, this year CRFG funds were insufficient to cover operating budget (primarily publication of the Fruit Gardener). The only options are to raise funds and increase membership, or to cut back on publication. "Campaign 360" was adopted to get us on firmer ground.

CAMPAIGN 360 NEWS.
For the past three years membership has been flat at about 3000. Although about 150 new members come in each year, the same number drop out. As with most organizations, after members renew for three years they tend to stay on much longer. We need all the ideas and help we can get to bring in new members and keep them. A membership of 3,600, which is an increase of 600, would put us on much firmer finanacial ground.

Another part of Campaign 360 seeks donations to meet this year's $15,000 shortfall. So far $1,900 has come in plus $400 from the Sequoia Chapter, an impressive and much appreciated contribution from a small chapter!

A copy of the Campaign 360 announcement (in Microsoft Word) sent out earlier is attached.

HELP WANTED
A feature article on CRFG in Sunset magazine should appeal to their readership and be good publicity for us. If you have suggestions on CRFG features to include, or people at Sunset who might be interested in this proposal, please tell us.

ISSUES.
This section is for your comments on whatever issue you may want to bring up. What would you like to see happen at CRFG? What is going well, and what isn't? How can we help one another?

For starters, at least one chapter chair has said there should be closer contact with the leadership (CRFG board). Board members say that when they had liaisons to the chapters it didn't work. What do you think? What would you like from the board; what can they do for your chapter? Do you feel we should have working committees with members drawn for all the chapters to work on CRFG issues?

VIGNETTES.
Please send in a few words about yourself. We will put one or two in the Bulletin each week. I'll start it off.

I'm Charles Allen, Chair of the Inland Empire Chapter and newly appointed member of the CRFG board. I was introduced to CRFG a little over two years ago when I wanted to do some grafting. I'm close enough to the Inland Empire, Foothill and Orange County Chapters to attend their meetings. As it happened, I got involved just in time to get swept up with the Festival of Fruit in Riverside last May, so I've had the chance to learn more than I expected. I have about three dozen fruit trees growing on two residential lots in Claremont. Many are citrus, not much really exotic -- yet. I retired from Pomona College after teaching organic chemistry for a number of years. Other "outside" activities have included participation in air quality management from local to national levels, and with the Sierra Club on their Board for a few years. Liz and I have a daughter Debra who trains horses, a son John who is a mechanical engineer with Boeing, and our youngest daughter Mary is a vet in the Bay Area.

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN.
OK, that's my two hours for this week. Now we need to hear from you. Remember to tell me if you got this, and if there are others it should be sent to. Most important, is this Bulletin worth continuing? If so, send material and suggestions.

-- Charles Allen