OPTIONAL CHAPTER ACTIVITIES
- Maintain a list of local farmers and sources of foods with high bionutrient levels.
- Represent the Association at local events (conferences, festivals, agricultural fairs, etc).
- Organize social gatherings, such as discussion groups, movie watching, and pot luck dinners, to present the BFA philosophy and materials.
- Organize lectures and classes featuring speakers from the BFA, or local speakers who support the Associations's goals and philosophy.
- Represent the BFA philosophy and goals to local media, organizations, and government officials.
- Publish a simple newsletter or maintain an active Facebook, or other social media or blog presence, containing information and announcements for local chapter members.
- Work with schools to provide curriculum materials and training, especially in conjunction with farm-to-school and school garden initiatives.
- Conduct research projects in line with Association research objectives (identify "critical to quality" metrics for food, identify "best-quality" local produce, etc).
While participants in chapter activities don't need to be active members of the BFA, we are a membership-based organization and depend on membership for our work. Local chapters are free to determine for themselves how to organize in terms of funding your activities, but we want to stress that everything must be kept open and transparent, and that the purpose of the organization is not to extract money from people. We very strongly urge local chapters to keep things as simple as possible and to simply ask for donations for any necessary expenses. That being said, especially when initially starting out, avoid getting overzealous with your activities. It does not take a lot of money to run successful events and activities that build the community and raise awareness about issues of food quality. Keep in mind that the national organization reserves the right to audit chapters at any time, and the more complicated your structure, the easier it is to make mistakes. Chapters that fail to keep appropriate financial records will be shut down or the chapter leaders removed. There should be very little need to do anything more than maintain a simple account for donations and paying for meeting space.
Meetings can be held at the discretion of the chapter, but do try to make them regular so members will know when they are. And try to vary the content so they don't become "stale".
- Make sure you have enough members coming to meetings and willing to donate enough money to cover any venue costs before committing to holding your meetings at a location that charges money. Until you get too big, meeting at someone's house is often a great option.
- Make sure newcomers feel welcome and try to ensure that they leave with some kind of informational/new member packet. Include the date/time of the next event and perhaps see if they'd like to contribute any snack items for the next meeting (give them a reason to commit to coming back).
- We recommend that you use name tags to facilitate getting to know each other.
- Remember that the Bionutrient Food Association is not a religious or political organization and does not support or promote any particular creed, political party or philosophy. You may not use chapter meetings to promote your religious beliefs or political views.
Suggested Activities for Chapter Meetings
- DVD or video showing
- A series of classes based on talks by Dan Kittredge, John Kempf, Jerry Brunetti, or other BFA-affiliated speakers or companies
- A presentation on a BFA-related topic by someone knowledgeable about it
- Organize a monthly BFA Book Club
- Local practitioners and farmers familiar with the BFA philosophy and techniques are logical
- choices for speakers at your meetings.
Vendors at Chapter Meetings
Some chapter leaders have found it very useful to have tables for vendors at chapter meetings. They charge for the tables, thus garnering revenue to pay for the rental of the venue. Some chapters have raised considerable funds in this way, while providing a service to meeting participants.
Publicizing Your Events
We highly recommend that you use Facebook, Twitter, Meetup.com and similar websites to publicize your chapter meetings. This will be a logical step as many chapter likely will form as a result of a Meetup group becoming more popular and organized. The Meetup site makes organizing events and the associated tasks very simple.
Another way to provide information about your local chapter is to sign up as a member and list events at http://www.localharvest.org/events.jsp
You can also make flyers publicizing your chapter meetings and post them at health foods stores, libraries, etc., or distribute them at other community meetings.
Chapter Facebook Page
Chapters are encouraged to create and maintain a Facebook page and other forms of social media (Twitter, etc). Social media is invaluable for communication, advertising events, and providing a forum for discussion among members.
Do not post political or religious material, or material likely to be found offensive on your local chapter web pages. Never use chapter web pages or websites to endorse political candidates, as this would jeopardize the Association's non-profit status.
The chapter is welcome to publish a newsletter for chapter participants. This can generate some revenue for the chapter through "subscriptions" or selling advertising to local Bionutrient food-related businesses (preference to business members of the BFA). Publishing a newsletter can be quite a commitment though, so we urge caution in starting this. Make sure you have people committed to running it and publishing regularly. If you do publish a newsletter, please include a link in it to www.bionutrient.org and send headquarters a copy of every one you publish.
Creating a list of local media organizations and individuals is a good idea. When the BFA releases a press release, you can forward it to your local media organizations with a statement mentioning the local chapter and when your next meeting is.
Working With Schools
As more schools are developing school gardens and farm-to-school programs, the opportunity exists to leverage these efforts as a way to boost awareness and understanding of food quality issues and educate the public about what the Bionutrient Food Association is all about. Getting involved and volunteering with these kinds of school programs could be a great local chapter activity and we would be happy to assist you in providing educational materials for students, educators, and parents.
Exhibiting At Local Conferences And Fairs
Exhibiting at local conferences, health fairs and farmers markets is a great way to introduce the public to the educational messages of the Bionutrient Food Association, as well as increase membership. Make sure you have handouts, and BFA membership signup forms. Asking local BFA member-consultants to join you at these events can help you reach out to farmers and educate them about the specifics of what the BFA is about and how that can help farmers grow better food.
No Politics Please!
Volunteers representing the Bionutrient Food Association must refrain from endorsement of, or campaigning for, a political candidate or political party while representing the BFA. These activities could jeopardize the non-profit status of the BFA.
Recruiting New Members
When you recruit a new member in the BFA, make sure you look over the membership form and payment to check for errors. Place the payment and membership form in an envelop immediately to avoid losing it. Please mail the completed forms to the BFA as soon as possible.
- Organize your table so that the free items are together in one place and the items for sale are together in another place.
- Take pictures!! Make sure there are people in the photos! We like putting exhibit pictures (with smiling people) in our newsletter. Send us two or three of the best and let us know the names of each person in the photo.
- Have fun, keep it light.
- Avoid the three "Cs": no need to coerce, convert or cajole.
- Relax...you know more than you think you know. Some volunteers are nervous because they can't remember specifics. Don't worry if you don't know the answer to a question, direct folks to the website, they'll get more than they bargained for!
- Our members are the best advertisement for the BFA. Share your experience.
- Some folks don't want to talk, so having materials in a binder lets them learn without having to engage in conversation.
- Find the balance. Says one volunteer with the WAPF, "It took me a while to find the right balance, not running people away with my passion or passively smiling and nodding at them as they walked by."
- Make sure to move around and meet folks, speakers, exhibitors, hotel personnel and exhibit hall folks. The BFA message is universal, and you never know who'll be hungry to hear it.
- Document what worked, and what didn't and pass it on to the BFA and other chapter leaders.
Suggestions For Books For Display Or Sale
Any of the books listed in the "Recommended Reading" list on the Bionutrient.org website would be great to display, sell, rent or loan.
Hosting a Lecture or Conference
One primary goal of local chapters is to facilitate spreading the word about foods with high levels of bionutrients to people who haven't heard the message yet. As such, the BFA has several speakers that are happy to come to local chapters to give talks or even full-day conferences. This kind of activity is not something to rush into, as it takes a lot of planning and committed members to pull off a well-run event.
- Be sure to confirm your speakers and schedule with the Association.
- Do not attempt a large event without plenty of help!
- Make sure you understand the technology, room setup, and other needs of the speaker/s. Make sure you understand the requirements and expectations of the speaker/s, including fees, expenses paid, room/board, etc.
- What else?...
- Local farms practicing pasture-based and nontoxic farming. They need not be certified organic farms, but they must be using Bionutrient farming principles or moving in that direction and any animals should be outside on pasture (no confinement animal operations).
- Any product listed in our Shopping Guide.
- Locally prepared foods and food prepared without industrial additives and using healthy ingredients with high bionutrient levels.
- Nontoxic farming supplies including mineral supplements for animals, soil amendments, natural plant nutritional supplements, compost, non-GMO seed (and preferably OP heirloom), and organic livestock feed.
- Local consultants of biological farming techniques and soil fertility, bionutrient-focused food preparation and lifestyle.
- Publishers selling BFA-approved titles.
- Like-minded nonprofit organizations.
Be sure to provide exhibitors with specific instructions regarding payment, set-up, clean-up, and other duties and expectations. And remember to schedule time for attendees to actually visit your exhibitors.
- Compile a list of local media, such as newspapers, journals, radio and television.
- Compose an attention-grabbing press release. There is a specific type of style for press releases. Perhaps there is a media-savvy writer in your group who can compose one. If not, get all the ideas on paper and send it to the Association for help with editing.
- Make sure the BFA headquarters gets your press release; we can get it out to major outlets in your area.
- Call all local media outlets to pitch your story and invite them to the event—once again, some people are very good at doing this. The publicist for your event should give a short pitch and then fax or email the press release.
- It helps to have a celebrity person at your event, such as a well-known author, speaker, chef, farmer, restaurant owner or local food expert.
- Try to book radio and TV appearances about ten days before the event.
- Just before the event, call all your media people again and restate your invitation to attend.
- Be sure to follow up with thank you notes following the event.