There's a debate going on within ACGA about changing this Forum so it is organized by regions. What's your opinion?
On the pro side, the gardening part of community gardening is very different in different places. You can't grow the same varieties of heirloom tomatoes at the same time in Alaska vs. Florida. Also, people like to contact others close by, ones who share similar political realities and, possibly, cultural patterns.
On the con side, there are two arguments. First, while gardening may differ, community garden organizing has many similarities wherever you go. The Forum allows broad sharing of good ideas, no matter where they are from. Second, we are still rebuilding after our website was out of commission. We don't as many regular visitors to our Forum as we want. Regions would futher dilute numbers.
Regional supporters respond, well, we'd get more numbers if we had regions, since people would be more interested.
The "big tent" supporters responde that's fine in theory, but we need a Forum manager for each region, and that did not work in the past. And determining regions is a challenge: For instance, should Maine be grouped with Connecticut in "New England." Or do we go by ecoregions, and put Northern California with Oregon and Washington, not with Los Angeles and Calexico?
The supporting evidence beyond opinions? Again, it's mixed. One of the most popular events at ACGA's national conferences are the regional meetings. On the other hand, the old ACGA listserv, which serves as a model for what such a discussion board can be, was never divided by regions and pulled members from everywhere. (That's how I first found out about the community gardens in Australia, which has some of the best ideas around.)
So, what do you think?
For now, we're sticking with a single forum. But I'm open to adding a regional forum as a trial (if I have a dedicated host to help.) Any candidate regions?