Possible New Earth Friendly Simple Swap Group
I have been pondering this for some time, thinking about creating a group that would focus on "Simple Swaps" - seeds, reading materials, and things that can be recycled - maybe also some craft items, handmade cards on occasion, recipes, etc. The Round Robin Group had several swaps lately where people swapped books and magazines and I assume all of us think it is a good idea to recycle when we can and keep things out of the landfill. Postage is a concern for many and I would like to see a lot of the swaps for this group be something that can safely be mail in a padded envelope or by media mail.
With the weather being so hot and dry in so many places this summer, seed swaps may be better for many of us instead of shipping plants - at least for several months of the year. I would also like the seed swaps for this "possible group" to be ones where small quantities can be swapped. When it comes to seeds, it is daunting to me if I see that you need a teaspoon of seeds for a swap. Sometimes I only have a dozen tiny seeds. (I think it's fine to have small quantities just to try something out. That is, if the person you are sending to understands the swap will be for a small amount of seeds.)
So here is the "what if" --- If I can get someone who is familiar with the Round Robins and its regular members who wants to be a co-host(ess) with me, I will start a new group called Friends of the Earth: Simple Swaps which will focus on seeds, reading materials, and recycling. My thought is to have a different swap each month based on one or more of the three main themes - Seeds, Read, and Recycle. The monthly theme will be planned by the co-hostess(es) and either hosted by one of them or along with a volunteer for that month. I think we could start a first swap for October and use the month of September to get organized, come up with ideas, etc. Top priority is to see if someone wants to get involved enough to be a co-hostess along with me. It could even be a group of three co-hosts. This will be an active commitment where you will need to monitor the board and discuss planning by e-mail. I would like it if the co-host and I could alternate months to oversee the monthly swaps.
As for membership, I would like to have this be "for members only" with the membership being "very friendly" with maybe as many as 50 members for the cap. We would have a list of members, but with only a little information provided to the hostess before swapping. You would not have to swap every month, just maybe 20-25% of the time. The group would be only for adults. In order to join, you would need to be a reputable GardenWeb member - one who has sent as they should and kept in contact on swaps. (If there is a GardenWeb member who wants to join without a proven track record - that would be possible as long as the person has a member to be their sponsor. The sponsor would be expected to send the type of item that is owed in the swap if the new member fails to do so. Newbies would be expected to mail out within a week of when the swap partners are assigned so the item would be received first and could be reported here on the board.
So there is my "vision." I think these could be simple, not very costly swaps, good for the environment, and a way to introduce new people to the Round Robins yet maintain some reliability so that no one just pops in one month to receive without sending. (That seldom happens here on the Round Robins, but when it does, it really causes a lot of concern.)
What can be recyled? Well, besides gardening books and magazines, there are decorative items, things you might handcraft using materials that are being recycled - such as creating seed packets using paper that has an unprinted side or using garden catalogs to make a seed packet and then adding a plain white sticker for the label or cutting old blinds into plant labels. Many other things, too, as I'm sure we will find out. We can share web sites that give recycling information and share tips here as well.
Remember, there is no new group created at this point! Contact me by e-mail if you would like to be a co-hostess for the overall operation of this group and if anyone wants to suggest monthly swap topics for consideration or say whether they think this is a good or bad idea, feel free to post on this thread.