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Help me out here folks. In an effort to increase our numbers, I need to be able to describe – in two or three sentences – DR.com to others. Yes, DR.com is a “food discussion bulletin board.” However, more than anything, DR.com is a “virtual” community where we come together to discuss issues we care about. I need to elaborate on that and who better to ask than the members of DR.com!

We’ve convened here for different reasons. What bought you here? As a community, what are we passionate about? What are the issues most important to us? Who’s in our community? How do you contribute to this online community? Why is this online community important to you?

I don’t need a lengthy monograph, just a few sentences that adequately describes DR.com.

Post your best elevator pitch here (or PM me), no later than Friday, August 17. The top entries – as decided by DonRocks and designated minions – will be placed to a vote the following week. Entries from Newbies are especially encouraged: how did you hear about the board... what got you here... what are your favorite features of the board. (If you're a Guest please take a moment to register and submit your entry.)

The winning entry will be incorporated into the Welcome blurb and the writer will be eligible for a free drink at the next DonRockwell.com Happy Hour.

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Help me out here folks. In an effort to increase our numbers, I need to be able to describe – in two or three sentences – DR.com to others. Yes, DR.com is a “food discussion bulletin board.” However, more than anything, DR.com is a “virtual” community where we come together to discuss issues we care about. I need to elaborate on that and who better to ask than the members of DR.com!
How is it going to be used? I'm afraid that I'm not grasping why you're asking, even though you're explaining what you want. Are you putting ads online or in print media? Making t-shirts? I'm not sure what the target is, so it's hard to know how to sum it up.
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Help me out here folks. In an effort to increase our numbers, I need to be able to describe – in two or three sentences – DR.com to others.

Huh? I'm not following. Why do we need to increase our numbers? Are the current members not contributing enough? Are the contributions not as good as they used to be? Has membership fallen sharply? In other words, why is there a perceived need to market at all? We should answer this question/s before we start drumming up elevator pitches or designing brochures or developing any other marketing materials or PR campaigns.

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Help me out here folks. In an effort to increase our numbers, I need to be able to describe – in two or three sentences – DR.com to others...I don’t need a lengthy monograph, just a few sentences that adequately describes DR.com.
Wait a sec, isn't that what Don is paying you for? :angry:

Nutty Buddy has the right idea. What's the point of this, and the end use?

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Wait a sec, isn't that what Don is paying you for? :angry:

Nutty Buddy has the right idea. What's the point of this, and the end use?

Legant is working a lot behind the scenes towards my personal goal of giving back to the community. Among other things, she is working on applying for two grants, one from General Mills, another from the Case Foundation.

She wanted to work quietly on these things, but since people are asking, she agreed for me to cut-and-paste this excerpt from one of her emails to me.

Although I hope I don't have to say this, there is neither revenue nor personal gain for me in any of this; I'm just trying to use the power of our numbers to serve those who need help.

Cheers,

Rocks.

---

FYI: I just submitted a proposal – with four minutes to spare – to the Case Foundation’s Make it Your Award grant program.

The proposal requested funding for a project titled “Friends of the (Anacostia Farmer’s) Market.”

The full proposal is attached. However, here is the key section which describes “how this initiative [will] make a lasting difference and create an ongoing space for your community to connect, form solutions, and act together.”

This project is suggested by DonRockwell.com, a food discussion bulletin board in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. DonRockwell.com (and its members) would be “friends of the Anacostia Farmer’s Market” to support and help grow and sustain the market. At the core of any farmer’s market is community; this project would unite two diverse communities.

Currently the board has over 1,800 members. More than anything else, the members of the board want to use the power of numbers to actively address food security issues in underserved communities in the metropolitan DC area.

DonRockwell.com would work -- collaboratively -- with a local, community-based organization to gather data and assess community needs.

It is expected that the results of the needs assessment and community discussion(s) will identify: target audiences; types of product/vendors needed or desired; methods for increasing market sustainability; and, areas that DonRockwell.com members can work with community residents to generate sustain interest of and provide (in-kind) support of the Anacostia Farmer’s Market.

Essentially, DonRockwell.com (and its members) would be “friends of the Anacostia Farmer’s Market” to support and ensure the success of the market. At the core of any farmer’s market is community; this project would unite two diverse communities. “It” is a holistic effort to generate support for farmer’s markets in areas with under-served populations. “

[The communities are (1) the DonRockwell.com online community, (2) the Anacostia Farmer’s Market; (3) the Anacostia Neighborhood Development Corp. (I know one of the board members) and (4) residents of DC’s Wards 7 and 8, East of the Anacostia.]

A couple of things:

It is not my best grant writing; this was a very tight deadline. [Excuse: I received information about this program on Monday.]

If we make it to the top 100, we’ll get $100 to jump start the program. If we make the next cut (20 folks), we get $10K.

Fair and transparent statement: I’ve written myself into the proposal.

We need a brief statement/paragraph explaining DonRockwell.com. I checked the board and couldn’t find anything. If a newbie (or the Case Foundation) went to the site to find out what the board is about, they’re out of luck.

We – I – also need a brief statement about Don. The WETA blurb “Don Rockwell is the wine columnist for The Washingtonian and the moderator of the popular D.C. food discussion board at donrockwell.com.” ain’t cutting it.

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If these proposals are supposed to involve us, as the DR.com community, wouldn't it have made more sense to mention that you were planning to do this before you submitted the proposals? People here have proven that they're incredibly generous with their time in support of a good cause, but it's a little presumptuous to assume that they would continue to be so on this kind of level without consulting them first.

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If these proposals are supposed to involve us, as the DR.com community, wouldn't it have made more sense to mention that you were planning to do this before you submitted the proposals? People here have proven that they're incredibly generous with their time in support of a good cause, but it's a little presumptuous to assume that they would continue to be so on this kind of level without consulting them first.
I'm with Hannah on this. Not only would we then be able to see where peoples' interests lie and what they will support, but would be able to offer a considerable amount of expertise. I know that I am far from the only one on DR whose paychecks depend on our ability to contribute to winning proposals for everything from one-off little RFPs to multi-multi-million dollar Blanket Purchase Agreements.
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Respectfully, I don't see what the big deal is. In December 2006 and April 2007, in the jobs thread, Don posted an ad for a dr.com employee. That employee was supposed to perform several duties, including:

Figure out how to help the underprivileged without being a nuisance to members

Why didn't people comment/object/seek clarification at that time? Not sure why this is such a hot-button issue now.

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Respectfully, I don't see what the big deal is. In December 2006 and April 2007, in the jobs thread, Don posted an ad for a dr.com employee. That employee was supposed to perform several duties, including:

Figure out how to help the underprivileged without being a nuisance to members

Why didn't people comment/object/seek clarification at that time? Not sure why this is such a hot-button issue now.

Because this is a community and dropping a fait accompli on people is not the best way to get them motivated to get involved. Even the slightest, "Hey this is what I'm working on does anyone want to help out", would make a huge difference in people's feeling that their inputs and opinions are valued and that it is a community rather than a business.

Not to mention that this lack of transparency smacks of eG and the people that run it.

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You know what? This falls squarely into the category of "No good deed goes unpunished." I told Legant to go out and use her imagination, and she's doing a darned good job of it, too.

She's winging this whole thing, just like I am. Hell, I didn't even know about this Case Foundation thing until after the fact either, but I approved of it as soon as I heard it. It's a fine idea, and I'm not going to let her be criticized for this.

Nothing has been planned, nothing has been settled, and in case you're wondering ... we ARE discussing this. Right here and now.

If you want to contribute some suggestions, or volunteer your time and efforts, then by all means, step up and do so. But stop criticizing and complaining, and start doing something constructive. Why don't you guys PM Legant and set up a meeting where everyone puts their heads together? That's fine with me.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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OK Don,

Lets chalk this up as a learning experience. Please post the background of the foundation and the application that was sent (including how the funds would be used) and let the creative side of this board start to look at the opportunity. While I agree with a lot of the comments presented here, the bottom line is that we are a very giving community and when asked, we tend to contribute.

Why don't we start another thread (area) for volunteering and philanthropy. Opportunities such as this one can be discussed as well as how to best present the board and the community for future opportunities.

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Because the general membership hasn't been told that Legant is paid to increase participation.

Legant is being "paid" to do two things:

1) Get more members from under-represented areas of Washington.

2) Figure out how to help people who need help.

Those were the two goals I stated to her, followed by "now go out and use your imagination."

There are NO WAGES being paid to Legant; I'm providing her with health insurance, just as I said I would in the classified ad. AND QUITE HONESTLY, THAT'S NOBODY'S BUSINESS BUT MINE AND HERS.

Someone just sent me a PM that said:

"Is this website a pain in the ass or what!?!?!"

Today it sure is.

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Tricky situation. Short notice, a good opportunity, a vision (at least parts of which were previously articulated and discussed on the board), and an "in" (legant's contact within the ANDC). Legant's (excerpted) proposal may have been a bit presumptuous, but we should also take the positives from this situation--legant identified a target via a contact, articulated a vision that squares with a lot of past experience on the board, formulated a first blush as to how me might operationalize that vision, and helped generate a discussion that broadens awareness and puts all of us on the lookout for other opportunities (hopefully with enough lead time to have a bit of discussion).

So we go forward.

One specific point:

DonRockwell.com would work -- collaboratively -- with a local, community-based organization to gather data and assess community needs.
In this specific context, we should do this anyway, whether or not we get a grant. At least as those "needs" pertain to farmers markets and other well-definable food contexts.
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Someone just sent me a PM that said:

"Is this website a pain in the ass or what!?!?!"

Today it sure is.

Deep yoga breaths everyone.....

It all comes down to open communication. If Legant had posted that she was drafting a grant application for X on behalf of the board and wanted to include a blurb about what dr.com is and her deadline was Y and could we help, I think everyone would have been fine with that.

The takeaway: If you're proposing something in the name of dr.com. just explain upfront what you're doing. There's no need to be coy.

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I just got this email from a friend on the website. I have nothing to hide, and have no idea about anything going on behind the scenes. There are no black helicopters flying around, and no Big Plans for this website other than 1) I'd like to grow the Baltimore and Annapolis forum and 2) I wish to help people in need. I can't make my intentions clear, because I don't even know what they are.

Feel free to discuss. Forum hosts, please leave this thread unmoderated. Cheers, Rocks.

----------------------------------------

"But dude, I should drop it, but you can't get so defensive. Because things would have gone undiscussed if someone hadn't questioned the whole purpose statement thing. Yeah it's discussed now, but it wasn't before.

I think it's indicative of a much larger issue as a whole, which is transparency. You're probably aware that there's an undercurrent of discontent (yeah, yeah if you're not happy you can leave). But it seems like there's all this stuff going on behind the scenes, and things are going somewhere that no one seems to be clear on. Maybe you have no idea either. But then that needs to be discussed.

Yes, you're the head of the board, and ultimately you should be in charge of decisions, but I think that you need to make your intentions clearer to everyone. If you want to accomplish good things, then people need to know which way to push. At least make your intentions clear to the ppl who are working to support you. We can't make things better if we have no idea what is going on. And you're going to make them unhappy."

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I think I may be among the few people that did not like [Omnivore's Dilemma. I found it rather mastubatory and self-congratulatory. But then again, if you consider it more memoir than documentary, that's what you would expect.

I am a fan of the local farmer, I spend a fair amount of money at the farmers' market every weekend. Partly because of philosophy and partly because it just plain tastes better than the alternatives. I'll pay the extra money at Whole Paycheck for Niman Ranch pork and Bell and Evans chicken over the agribusiness giants for the same reasons.

It's only at the very end, and in passing that Pollan even mentions the real dilemma -- that not everyone can go local.

When I first read this statement, I found it rather insulting, so it is hypocritical to use it as a means of provoking further discussion here. Also not exactly an example of good social skills. However, I also saw the accusation as being rather ironic. Much of what goes on here is devoted to pleasuring oneself--and those we love, want to impress, find amusing... We also boast and show-off.

Here's an opportunity to branch out and okay insert violins here, but approach a shared passion differently. In fact, in a way that I've been contemplating for a long time, too, both in terms of the demographics of farmers markets (which I know is an issue of great interest to at least one other member I met at the Dupont Circle market) and terms of something DR.com can do to increase its membership while expanding the nature of its gatherings in the real world and as well as on the board.

I wish I had known about this earlier, too, since any proposal would benefit greatly from speaking with people who have opened and run successful markets in the area and those who won the grant in Takoma Park from The Kellogg Foundation. I've been proselytizing on an individual basis myself, and find the issues behind resistance, lack of follow-through and disinterest fascinating.

There's not enough time to write more now, but it's a worthy project that would be even more successful were complementary measures taken to ensure participation of the community and to increase interest in buying seasonal produce and local food through non-patronizing means. Certainly in the Anacostia area, there is a core group that has expressed environmental concerns, though I don't know how much that issue overlaps with diet.

* * *

As far as a brief description of this site goes, I'd focus on the fact that this community is shaped by the belief that food matters. Stress that which is social and local to address "quality of life" without causing your reader to snort. Without apologizing for the fact that we're primarily a bunch who document trips to bars, restaurants and grocery shopping, frankly express a desire to broaden the nature and mission of DR.com.

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* * *

As far as a brief description of this site goes, I'd focus on the fact that this community is shaped by the belief that food matters. Stress that which is social and local to address "quality of life" without causing your reader to snort. Without apologizing for the fact that we're primarily a bunch who document trips to bars, restaurants and grocery shopping, frankly express a desire to broaden the nature and mission of DR.com.

I think "Food matters" is great as a catchphrase, in the t-shirt/bumper sticker sense. From there, one can go into all of the different ways food matters, including those that people don't typically think of.

I like that a lot, including the fact that it incorporates a pun (i.e., matters relating to food).

DonRockwell.com: Food Matters

ETA: It occurred to me that it's too good not to have been used, and there are a number of sites using that already :angry:.

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I think "Food matters" is great as a catchphrase, in the t-shirt/bumper sticker sense. From there, one can go into all of the different ways food matters, including those that people don't typically think of.

I like that a lot, including the fact that it incorporates a pun (i.e., matters relating to food).

DonRockwell.com: Food Matters

ETA: It occurred to me that it's too good not to have been used, and there are a number of sites using that already :angry:.

Food Matters, People Do Too.

?

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:P--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mrs. B @ Aug 16 2007, 12:50 PM) </div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->Food Matters, People Do Too.

?

Food Matters, People Matter More.

?

I like that too. I feel like I'm answering too much :angry:

I'm wondering if dropping the modifier altogether might be better for effect, even if I do agree that people matter more.

food matters

people matter

dr.com

This isn't really developing the mission statement legant wants, but I think that grows from the real core ideas.

Actually, seeing that typed out makes me think maybe the "more" really is better B).

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I think "Food matters" is great as a catchphrase

DonRockwell.com: Food Matters

ETA: It occurred to me that it's too good not to have been used...

It's being used locally at Tom and Christy Przystawik's place in Alexandria.

On the larger issue of philanthropy - I think (and have thought) that it's a great idea to use the passion and numbers of people here to do something for the larger community. Obviously there are going to be people who are just here to post and read about dining experiences and other things food-related. There probably is a group who are interested in doing more, but will have different ideas about how and what to do.

Personally, (and locally for me) I've wondered about trying to get a group together to volunteer to prepare an evening meal at Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria. This is a monthly commitment and requires about 3-6 people to prepare and serve the food (and I'm not sure they even need volunteers right now). I'm sure there are other places where this could be done, either on a regular or as-needed basis. Food and Friends comes to mind...

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Personally, (and locally for me) I've wondered about trying to get a group together to volunteer to prepare an evening meal at Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria. This is a monthly commitment and requires about 3-6 people to prepare and serve the food (and I'm not sure they even need volunteers right now). I'm sure there are other places where this could be done, either on a regular or as-needed basis. Food and Friends comes to mind...
There was a time a while back--maybe a year or more--that Don posted a message asking people to PM him with ideas for charitable/community work. I recall typing out something about helping a particular soup kitchen. A friend of mine had volunteered there for years (even when she was very sick with cancer) and had recently died. I recall thinking that maybe a church wasn't appropriate to suggest and I wavered. I'm not sure if I ever sent it off or not :angry:. I think I didn't. In any case, soup kitchens and food pantries would be projects I would interested in seeing supported, as well as services like Food and Friends.
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Wow, so many people in the world (and on this board) need to dunk their heads in buckets of ice water! What's the harm being done here? I can't tell you what it is, and Legant has nothing to do with it.

Anyway, back on topic. DR.com in a few sentences. "DonRockwell.com is an online community of DC food lovers. In a city without its own culinary tradition, we are the grassroots that celebrate DC's emerging individuality. Home cooks can find tips from top area chefs, and top area chefs can be awed by what home cooks are turning out in their home kitchens. We are chefs, sommeliers, critics, amateurs, gourmands, and just plain old regular people whose lives have been touched in some way by food - and that's everybody!"

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Please post the grant information and the response (application). I would love to discuss "it" but am unsure what the proposal is (and what we are asking the board membership to do).

Can we discuss this, please? Is the Anacostia Farmers' Market a good idea in general? How about some other opinions and thoughts? At some point, I'm going to have to step up and make a decision.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Can we discuss this, please? Is the Anacostia Farmers' Market a good idea in general? How about some other opinions and thoughts? At some point, I'm going to have to step up and make a decision.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Do we know anything about the Anacostia Farmers' Market? Has anyone been there (there's no mention of it here)? Have we contacted the market? I ask, because the goals of assessing "target audiences; types of product/vendors needed or desired; methods for increasing market sustainability" may be: 1. Something the Anacostia Farmer's Market does already (and they may not want us to tell them what they should be doing) 2. Something we are not in an informed position to do very well. I'm sure there's help to be provided to the market, but I'm not sure we know quite what it is they need yet.
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Do we know anything about the Anacostia Farmers' Market? Has anyone been there (there's no mention of it here)? Have we contacted the market? I ask, because the goals of assessing "target audiences; types of product/vendors needed or desired; methods for increasing market sustainability" may be: 1. Something the Anacostia Farmer's Market does already (and they may not want us to tell them what they should be doing) 2. Something we are not in an informed position to do very well. I'm sure there's help to be provided to the market, but I'm not sure we know quite what it is they need yet.

Also, has the Anacostia market expressed interest in help from outside the the Anacostia community?

Here is a case study done on the Anacostia market, by the USDA, that addresses some of these questions and issues.

http://www.ams.usda.gov/directmarketing/anacostia%5B1%5D.pdf

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I agree with Chris-I'd like to know more about the market and how the money would be used. I'm also curious about the opportunities for people from the board to get involved. What are the opportunities to volunteer, given our demographic do they want us to volunteer, are members willing to volunteer at this location, what kind of long term relationship can the board have with the market?

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Legant is working a lot behind the scenes towards my personal goal of giving back to the community....
The following comments are not intended in any way to be disrespectful, so please don't take them that way. :angry:

I think the big question is whether or not the rest/some/all of the DR.com community share that goal and is interested/willing to participate in achieving it. That is definitely something that needs to be discussed to determine if the interest is there and, if so, how we can collectively go about doing something meaningful as a group. There are lots of variables: levels of interest, availability, specific issues/groups that are/aren't important to members.

There are also lots of ways of giving back to the community: financial contributions, donations of time or materials, ongoing involvement with an organization or project, one-time volunteer opportunities. Maybe some of these ways work for some of us, some work better for others (and maybe for some - none of them will work).

I'm definitely interested in doing something, on at least a semi-regular basis, and would enjoy doing it with fellow Rockwellians! Seems like a gathering to discuss all of this would be a good idea. (I guess that's what we're doing here, but maybe a live get-together sometime soon would be useful in hashing out expectations, area(s) of focus, and interest levels.)

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I, too, don't understand what all the fuss is about. There's established precedent: we've given simple cash donations for an injured restaurant worker very few of us knew, we've done fundraising for charitable organizations, we've worked directly for a supplier in need.

We're being given another opportunity to make a difference* in an area of common interest. Some of the 1,886 registered members will want to participate in some way, some won't. No one's being compelled.

I say cheers to Rocks and Legant for working to make this remarkable community a little less self-absorbed.

--------------------

*"Let's make a difference!" "...Let's get out of here!!!" the Civic-Minded Five, not-so-superheros, The Tick

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I, too, don't understand what all the fuss is about.

I say cheers to Rocks and Legant for working to make this remarkable community a little less self-absorbed.

I agree. Creating a bureaucracy to deal with such issues will only make them impotent. A public meeting should not be necessary any time a charitable project is considered. I do see the value of an announcement though so that people can add their input offline without creating impenetrable red tape.

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Sometimes I wonder if people really believe this.

The truth is that I HAVE no motivations, pure, transparent, or otherwise, other than wanting to do right by people.

And I've learned the hard way that I can't please everyone, try as I might.

Everyone please read this ten times: THERE IS NO HIDDEN AGENDA HERE.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Sometimes I think that there's something in the water (besides the lead we get for free in DC) or that the trickle down from politics and political journalism has infected the way we all communicate or maybe that the normal internet level paranoia infects everyone who spends more than an hour a day on this series of tubes, but (especially in my role as DC Forum Host for eGullet) I see an unfortunate tendancy for people to ascribe administrative decisions with which they disagree to evil intent or untoward agendas, and demand a level of "accountability" and discussion from hosts and admins that is simply not practical for people who have lives beyond the Internet. Just as bad, perhaps, perfectly natural and potentially non-confrontational questions are barked out as interrogations and simple answers are probed with the cynical and prejudiced eye of an postmodern lit-crit on deadline or a hyper-caffinated trial lawyer determined to find a loophole or cause for agrievement.

There are always disagreements in a public forum, sometimes sharp disagreements, on everything from use of the word "fuck" to defining trolling to larger philosophical and adminstrative issues -- I even disagree with my colleagues at eG and surely some of those whom I've put the kibosh on as host have found me insolent and heavy-handed. Administrative decisions are made on the fly, behind close doors; not even public access TV is begging to broadcast a couple of techno-nerds batting an events policy back and forth. And there's a constant tension between the desire of people to speak freely and unreservedly versus the hosts need to keep order and -- if they chose to do so -- a little decorum about the site.

And people get frustrated and pissed. And come to conclusion based of adrenaline or speculation or whatever. So it fucking goes, and any admin that can't handle a little heat should back slowly out of the kitchen.

But the leap from sharp disagreement to what amounts to personal attacks and unfair, uninformed speculation is, I think, rude. Pointless sniping interferes with my appetite, something that I don't log on to experience. I think Don does a great job and appreciate his work (and the advice he has passed to me on the ups and downs of being involved in one of these things). I think he has recruited a lot of excellent members, whose opinions and friendship I value, and nothing is more important that that. And I look forward to many more spirited discussions here (and elsewhere :angry: ), with people who assume, as I do, the best about the individuals who make this site happen.

I don't claim to be innocent; I am far from a calming, rational force. But I'm trying to learn to take a deep breath (as opposed to quick shot) before spilling onto the screen.

Cheers.

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Okay folks... I've been busy with "work" responsibilities and dental emergencies and have not had a chance to carefully read or follow this thread. However, I think I've gotten the gist of the conversations and will do my best to respond. Also note: I will update my post -- with more detailed information -- later today, as my schedule clears.

One recurring question asked for more detailed answers about the Anacostia Farmer's Market and the Case Foundation proposal. The concept of working with the AFM rose out a conversation Don and I had a while back; I elaborated on the conversation to develop the proposal.

A bit about the proposal I developed. The foundation is committed to “finding lasting solutions to complex social challenges.” To do so, the foundation sought proposals that, among other things, encouraged collaboration. It was under that rubric that I applied, on behalf of DR.com, for a Make it Your Own grant to conduct a needs assessment and host community discussion(s) to identify:

  • target audiences;
  • types of product/vendors needed or desired;
  • methods for increasing market sustainability; and,
  • areas that DonRockwell.com members can work with community residents to generate sustain interest of and provide (in-kind) support of the AFM.

In addition to the needs assessment, other activities suggested what I had seen at the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market:

* A local chef demonstrating the use and preparation of seasonal vegetables.

• Constructing fruit/veggie art geared toward children.

More specific to AFM:

* Developing nutritional education directed at seniors, developing teens, and working mothers.

* Supporting part-time, local employment for area teens as they sell, market and deliver market

produce.

One activity that I am especially keen on: DR.com could underwrite the distribution of fresh fruits to kids at a low price, say $0.10 a piece, to encourage healthy eating habits and introduce new foods into their diet.

There are also lots of ways of giving back to the community: financial contributions, donations of time or materials, ongoing involvement with an organization or project, one-time volunteer opportunities. Maybe some of these ways work for some of us, some work better for others (and maybe for some - none of them will work).

Which organizations or projects would you like to support as a group? In what ways?

Some folks have expressed a desire to work as a group in preparing meals for organizations such as DC Central Kitchen, Dinner Program for Homeless Women, BrainFood. What are other such programs?

Others may be interested in delivering meals for Food & Friends, and other such groups. What are those groups?

Yet still, there may be those interested in directing their attention to fundraising efforts to enable DR.com to make a significant financial contribution in the DC area. Where should we seek funding? What criteria should be used to determine what activities to fund and where to seek resources?

As some may know: I have a strong DC bias. All of these groups are located in DC. It would be extremely useful to know what groups are doing similar work in Maryland and Virginia that should be considered. What are your ideas?

Again, this is only a very brief response. I'll be able to elaborate and provide answers to upthread questions later tonight.

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Louise: This sounds great thus far and my fingers are crossed!

One of the major issues involved in promoting farmers markets is the status of home-cooking and the ways people eat during the day, away from home.

I deliberately said "people" because equally worthy projects such as Edible Schoolyards or Jamie Oliver's School Dinners in the U.K. are geared towards kids* while not including their parents. (Though, in some of the school-lunch programs in this country, converted children start pestering their parents to make what they had at school.)

Another issue is familiarity w fresh produce and their growing seasons. Collaboration w the school system is something I've been thinking about and something that might develop as things progress.

*I like what you address here for children.

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I, too, don't understand what all the fuss is about. There's established precedent: we've given simple cash donations for an injured restaurant worker very few of us knew, we've done fundraising for charitable organizations, we've worked directly for a supplier in need.

We're being given another opportunity to make a difference* in an area of common interest. Some of the 1,886 registered members will want to participate in some way, some won't. No one's being compelled.

I say cheers to Rocks and Legant for working to make this remarkable community a little less self-absorbed.

--------------------

*"Let's make a difference!" "...Let's get out of here!!!" the Civic-Minded Five, not-so-superheros, The Tick

That is a bit much, but maybe you had tongue planted firmly in cheek. I am sure that many folks on this board make significant contributions to organizations that try to make a difference.

I have no issues with being given an opportunity to make a difference, but don't want to be 'forced' into it either.

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That is a bit much, but maybe you had tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Mostly. Poor choice of words. Some of the posts upthread were...irritating?

I am sure that many folks on this board make significant contributions to organizations that try to make a difference.

Indeed (as I pointed out), and that's one reason I'm proud to be part of dr.com.

PS as for The Tick reference, don't take it seriously - it was the single funniest thing in the show and I can't help but laugh every time I hear "let's make a difference". Kinda like saying "Ni!" whenever someone uses the word "shrubbery".

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I’ve had an opportunity to review the thread and believe I've answered most of the questions in my previous post. Responses to the unanswered:

Also, has the Anacostia market expressed interest in help from outside the the Anacostia community?

Here is a case study done on the Anacostia market, by the USDA, that addresses some of these questions and issues.

http://www.ams.usda.gov/directmarketing/anacostia%5B1%5D.pdf

No, the market was not consulted. The opportunity was presented to me at the very last minute; proposal writing and development began at 8 PM trying to meet a midnight deadline. In retrospect, I wish I had consulted with the board: I didn’t know about the USDA report and could have benefited from input that might have allowed me to structure the proposal differently.
I'm also curious about the opportunities for people from the board to get involved. What are the opportunities to volunteer, given our demographic do they want us to volunteer, are members willing to volunteer at this location, what kind of long term relationship can the board have with the market?

I may not have articulated as clearly as possible the volunteer opportunities I envisioned in the proposal. In terms of activities we – the members and the board itself – could solicit local chefs to demonstrate cooking techniques and/or veggie artists to teach the children and/or nutritionists to offer programming. Heck! There are probably nutritionists or veggie artists in our ranks. Lawd knows there are plenty of chefs.

  • A local chef demonstrating the use and preparation of seasonal vegetables.
  • Constructing fruit/veggie art geared toward children.
  • Developing nutritional education directed at seniors, developing teens, and working mothers.

In terms of the distribution of fresh fruits: one or two people can set up a table and hand out the food. Again: these are volunteer oportunities; no one is required to go to Anacostia or anyplace else to hand out fruit or do anything else.

In terms of long-term relationships: that was not explored in the proposal. If we want to do something -- anything! -- that can be explored and discussed.

These efforts would benefit DR.com as well as: a visible (rather than virtual) presence would increase our numbers, allow us to make viable contributions in our “community,” and broaden our demographics.

Upon reflection: the Case Foundation proposal would have benefited greatly from these comments and questions. From here on out: any proposal I write on behalf of DR.com will solicit advice from the DR.com community prior to submission.

A big shout out to all who have offered public and private support and constructive criticism in this endeavor. With your continuing guidance and support, DR.com can make a difference.

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I do see the value of an announcement though so that people can add their input offline without creating impenetrable red tape.

Agreed. However, I have not seen any posts or received any PMs relative to my questions. I want – and need – input.

Which organizations or projects would you like to support as a group? In what ways?

Some folks have expressed a desire to work as a group in preparing meals for organizations such as DC Central Kitchen, Dinner Program for Homeless Women, BrainFood. What are other such programs?

Others may be interested in delivering meals for Food & Friends, and other such groups. What are those groups?

Yet still, there may be those interested in directing their attention to fundraising efforts to enable DR.com to make a significant financial contribution in the DC area. Where should we seek funding? What criteria should be used to determine what activities to fund and where to seek resources?

As some may know: I have a strong DC bias. All of these groups are located in DC. It would be extremely useful to know what groups are doing similar work in Maryland and Virginia that should be considered. What are your ideas?

I've taken note of the Virginia program mentioned upthread.

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General Mill’s My Hometown Helper program provides funds, up to $15,000, to support community groups and projects in cities all across America. The program gives funds directly to “public school, 501©(3) or 501©(4) entity, such as civic leagues and social welfare organizations.”

Successful proposals will:

  • Demonstrate a need in the broader community
  • Illustrate a helpful, creative or innovative concept that meets this need
  • Clearly identify change/s that can be made as a result of receiving the award

Several questions:

  • Would DR.com members like to compete for these funds?
  • Is General Mill’s an appropriate venue to seek such funds?
  • What need can the DR.com community, with the support of the My Hometown Helper program, meet? What areas, communities, activities or services?
  • What do you envision that support would look like?
  • What organization could we partner with to make this happen?

And…

  • Who is available/interested in helping me produce a first draft that then could be reviewed by the DR.com community?

The deadline for submission is September 30th. I propose the following timetable:

  • Receive and review suggestions, research possible allies, etc. by September 14
  • Get Don and DR.com to sign-off on the proposal concept
  • Produce and post a first draft by September 17
  • Incorporate comments/feedback from the DR.com community by September 21
  • Post second draft, for additional comments/feedback, by September 24
  • Submit (and post) the final proposal September 28

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Post here or send me a PM no later than September 14.

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Is there any interest among DR.com members volunteering, as a group, this holiday season, through a community service program or non-profit organization, that supports homeless, poor or other marginalized communities? This could be either a one-time or ongoing community service opportunity of DR.com.

Of the few organizations I have investigated (on my own behalf): volunteer slots on Christmas or Thanksgiving are “filled.” If there is an interest: I will expand my search for programs that might welcome a group on a weekend or weeknight during the holiday season. Volunteer opportunities could include: food prep; distributing or delivering meals; or, administrative/computer support.

Goldenticket had suggested Carpenter's Shelter in Alexandria. I know volunteer opportunities are regularly available at DC Central Kitchen, Food & Friends, Dinner Program for Homeless Women, Green Door Clubhouse, and several DC churches. If you know of organizations – in DC, MD or VA – that would be appropriate, please post here or PM me: I will follow up and post the information.

[Deep breaths now. Deep yoga breaths. Breathe. Breathe.]

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Of the few organizations I have investigated (on my own behalf): volunteer slots on Christmas or Thanksgiving are “filled.” If there is an interest: I will expand my search for programs that might welcome a group on a weekend or weeknight during the holiday season. Volunteer opportunities could include: food prep; distributing or delivering meals; or, administrative/computer support.

Count me in, especially if the volunteer opportunities are in DC. Thanks for doing this!

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Legant is working a lot behind the scenes towards my personal goal of giving back to the community. Among other things, she is working on applying for two grants, one from General Mills, another from the Case Foundation.

She wanted to work quietly on these things, but since people are asking, she agreed for me to cut-and-paste this excerpt from one of her emails to me.

Although I hope I don't have to say this, there is neither revenue nor personal gain for me in any of this; I'm just trying to use the power of our numbers to serve those who need help.

Cheers,

Rocks.

---

FYI: I just submitted a proposal – with four minutes to spare – to the Case Foundation’s Make it Your Award grant program.

The proposal requested funding for a project titled “Friends of the (Anacostia Farmer’s) Market.”

The full proposal is attached. However, here is the key section which describes “how this initiative [will] make a lasting difference and create an ongoing space for your community to connect, form solutions, and act together.”

This project is suggested by DonRockwell.com, a food discussion bulletin board in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. DonRockwell.com (and its members) would be “friends of the Anacostia Farmer’s Market” to support and help grow and sustain the market. At the core of any farmer’s market is community; this project would unite two diverse communities.

Currently the board has over 1,800 members. More than anything else, the members of the board want to use the power of numbers to actively address food security issues in underserved communities in the metropolitan DC area.

DonRockwell.com would work -- collaboratively -- with a local, community-based organization to gather data and assess community needs.

It is expected that the results of the needs assessment and community discussion(s) will identify: target audiences; types of product/vendors needed or desired; methods for increasing market sustainability; and, areas that DonRockwell.com members can work with community residents to generate sustain interest of and provide (in-kind) support of the Anacostia Farmer’s Market.

Essentially, DonRockwell.com (and its members) would be “friends of the Anacostia Farmer’s Market” to support and ensure the success of the market. At the core of any farmer’s market is community; this project would unite two diverse communities. “It” is a holistic effort to generate support for farmer’s markets in areas with under-served populations. “

[The communities are (1) the DonRockwell.com online community, (2) the Anacostia Farmer’s Market; (3) the Anacostia Neighborhood Development Corp. (I know one of the board members) and (4) residents of DC’s Wards 7 and 8, East of the Anacostia.]

A couple of things:

It is not my best grant writing; this was a very tight deadline. [Excuse: I received information about this program on Monday.]

If we make it to the top 100, we’ll get $100 to jump start the program. If we make the next cut (20 folks), we get $10K.

Fair and transparent statement: I’ve written myself into the proposal.

We need a brief statement/paragraph explaining DonRockwell.com. I checked the board and couldn’t find anything. If a newbie (or the Case Foundation) went to the site to find out what the board is about, they’re out of luck.

We – I – also need a brief statement about Don. The WETA blurb “Don Rockwell is the wine columnist for The Washingtonian and the moderator of the popular D.C. food discussion board at donrockwell.com.” ain’t cutting it.

The Anacostia market is closed for good. About 120 shoppers each week spending $4 per purchase, along with some difficulties reaching it has led it to shut down.

Resources are going towards education about healthy eating.

Now they have only 1 grocery store for 140,000 people.*

Sad. I bet the ratio of fast food joints per person is much different.

*According to Channel 7 news tonight.

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The Anacostia market is closed for good. About 120 shoppers each week spending $4 per purchase, along with some difficulties reaching it has led it to shut down.

Resources are going towards education about healthy eating.

Now they have only 1 grocery store for 140,000 people.*

Sad. I bet the ratio of fast food joints per person is much different.

*According to Channel 7 news tonight.

That is sad. All the more reason to do something good this holiday season.

BTW, I'd be in for some holiday season volunteering, schedule permitting. I've pitched in at So Others Might Eat previously. They're great, but are also a popular destination for local volunteers, especially on peak dates.

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This is very, very sad.

I am skeptical about money spent teaching people about healthy food.

It's a turn off.

We need to teach kids how to cook in schools with kitchens, starting at a very early age.

Emphasis on foods that look cool and taste good. On how to be creative with the kinds of ingredients sold in farmers markets and Giant. Eating seasonally and not out of the box.

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