Minute of the Garthdee Field Allotments Association (GFAA) Committee Meeting held in South Crown Street, at 19.00 on 9th August 2012

Attendees: Stuart Oram, Michael Hart, George Tulloch, Ian Shand, Ken Locke, Rupert Hunt, Carlos Galan.

Apologies: Ranald Cameron

1)     Welcome: Stuart Oram (Chairman) welcomed everyone to the GFAA Committee Meeting.

2)     Agenda: (i) Minutes of Previous Meeting (ii) Microplots (iii) Disabled Allotment (iv) Funds (v) Hardcore (vi) Plots with Horsetail (vii) Social/BBQ (viii) Next AGM (ix) AOCB

3)    (i)  The minutes of the previous meeting were taken as read.

4)   (ii) Microplots & Plot Allocation:

Plot allocation at GFA is managed jointly by ACC (management of ACC waiting list, and selection for plot award) and GFAA (plot allocation on GFA).

Small plots have been in use in GFA for several years. For ACC, these have initially been considered micro-plots, suiting those with an interest in working a small area. For GFAA, they are primarily considered as an entry route, to allow new entrants to test their interest in allotment activity, as traditionally there has been a high proportion of relinquishment of plots over the first two years of allocation.

Recently, some holders of small GFA plots have indicated a preference to retain their small plot, rather than progress to managing 0.5 or 1.0 plot areas. For GFAA, this  restricts the entry route to allotment holding in GFA. There is a need to converge ACC and GFAA policy on the use of these small plots.

Discussion focused on:

– the need to standardise the function of small plots (no Operational Guidelines exist to support implementation of the Constitution), and align the plot contract terms with their use (e.g. if starter plots, the new plotholder to decide on progression after a full season of rental)
Action – S Oram/K Locke (1) to develop an Operational Guideline model for discussion at the AGM

– complications for plot holding where a single plot holder is named on the contract (the un-named worker loses entitlement rights to allotment holding; income security for ACC is uncertain unless the plotholder pays rental and has an informal agreement with the worker)

– whether and how to assign small plots for continued use (the meeting was reluctant for further fragmentation of full plots to continue.

5)   (iii) Disabled Allotment:

The project with RGU, for making available allotments for persons with disabilities, awaited a Memorandum of Understanding from Phil Carver (RGU).
Action – S Oram (2) to contact Phil Carver to identify status

The Chairman also reported back on contact with Alan Watson (Scott Sutherland) on the activities on GFAA of some of his students. First year students will be undertaking multi-disciplinary projects to design an allotment area for use by people with disabilities.
Action – C Galan (3) to develop 2 paragraph brief
Further funding for the project would be accessed by RGU. A Composting toilet will be required (estimate £1000-1200).

6)    (iv)  Funds:
Current GFAA funds were expected to be of the order of £400.
Action – R Cameron (4) to provide overview statement for AGM (incoming/outgoing)

There was discussion on benefits of the GFAA achieving charitable status, to enable contributions to recover tax paid on contributions. The committee was in agreement to explore the process to achieve SCIO status.
Action – K Locke (5) to circulate information to committee on process to achieve charitable status

7)    (v) Hardcore;
It was agreed that hardcore should be ordered for backfilling into site road access.
Action – S Oram (6) to request hardcore provision at cost from ACC (Pat Wilson)

8)    (vi) Horsetail Infestation:
There was considerable discussion on the problem of horsetail infestation on the plots bordering the eastern half of the boundary with the old Deeside Railway. It was agreed that:

– horsetail was a manageable weed, to the extent that it did not normally prevent effective cropping

– infestation probably originated from the railway, and therefore was unlikely to  be eliminated purely by on-plot treatment

– the previous ACC treatment had not been wholly successful, despite quarantining plots 97a/b for a year for treatment

– it remains a plotholder responsibility to manage on-plot annual and/or perennial weeds.

However, it appeared likely that one new entrant would probably withdraw from plot 97a, due to the excessive time committed to addressing the horsetail issue. As this then risks further interruption of revenue for 97a (and adjacent plots in future), this should be discussed with ACC.
Action – S Oram (7) to discuss options for joint action with ACC (Pat Wilson)
Action – C Galan (8) to enquire (by email) for best practice on horsetail treatment

9)    (vii) BBQ & Raffle:
It was agreed that a BBQ & Raffle should take place on Saturday 15th September.
Action – G Tulloch  (9) to email plot holders, advising ticket availability and requesting raffle contributions

Any equipment for the BBQ could be stored in available containers at site.
As the current Social Committee members are not available for active support, a new Social Committee should be coopted.
Action – S Oram (10) to consider options for proposal at AGM

10)  (viii) AGM:
The committee agreed a date for the AGM (due to take place on 14th November; to be followed by a General Meeting.
It was agreed that any General Meeting would serve a limited purpose if the agenda did not generate interest and involvement. It was proposed that the Constitution be amended to allow flexibility in this area.
Action – K Locke (11) to propose that 2-4 General Meetings take place each year (one at the start of the season, and one immediately after the AGM), as appropriate to GFAA activities

9)    (ix) AOCB:

– Website population has been assigned to Richard Powell. However, the website appears to be poorly supported by relevant contributions
Action – C Galan (12) to enquire on progress

– It was agreed that Committee members would provide 100 word profiles on their allotment interests, for website (and noticeboard)
Action – Committee Members (13) to provide personal profiles

– C Galan informed the meeting that he had established contact with a Garden Society in Stromness, and suggested that GFAA could contribute to a network, with informative material published on the website and the possibility of exchange visits.

– Dee Henderson-Haeffner had sent thanks for the flowers arranged earlier in the year. K Locke suggested that she would appreciate a small contribution of organic produce, as this had been provided when Dee was managing orchard grass mowing.
Action – G Tulloch (14) to check contact/address details
Action – S Oram (15) to receive donations and ensure delivery

The date of the next Committee Meeting will be determined before the Annual General Meeting.

The meeting was closed at 21.07.

Please direct all queries on the content of draft minutes to Michael Hart (88), at