Friday, January 4, 2019

SLOLA Elections

As many of you know, we are behind in getting our elections up and running. We have had four elections since the beginning and I would like to shed some light on the history of elections in SLOLA.

From the beginning, electing the Chair of SLOLA meant electing the Chair of “SLOLA/Venice.” Even after we established the now extinct “SLOLA/SFV,” they held their own election for their own officers and Venice held the election for their officers. Venice did not vote for SFV and SVF did not vote for Venice officers.

The first seeds added to the library!  We've come a long way!
This was in keeping with our founding principles. SLOLA is to be an organization that believes in local seeds, local growing conditions and local community. There is no desire that there be a sole authority nor a city wide organization where every person sows the same thing – I think we reject that out of hand! SLOLA was founded to be hyper-local. To this end, in the past, when we were a topnotch organization, we did not have one inventory – our two branches had two different inventories because the seeds were growing in different garden zones. We used the Sunset Western Garden guide and carefully selected the seeds for the original SFV that was distinctly different from Venice. Venice has more in common with Camarillo than with Studio City.

Because of our deference to the local, we helped SFV set up and we “sponsored” them, but there was no thought, or desire, to make them subservient to Venice and that concept rings strong still. I know when we voted to have branches in Altadena and a new SFV branch, I never intended to decide policy or chose your seeds. Each chapter should have it's own chair and every chapter should work together, but yet be independent.

My personal belief is that SLOLA has strayed from its initial intention and guiding principles. We need to return to what we set out to be – a seed saving organization that is invested in local gardens, local communities and local seeds. For people who have been here since the beginning, this has been a hard two years as we have seen so much work sullied by a lack of appreciation for the reasons of that organization exists. We do not approve of a"super SLOLA" with elections all over LA. We do not concede our belief in the sacredness of our seeds, raised in our communities by our communities and for our communities. We believe that everyone in this organization should read our mission statement – it is not nuanced – and that what we are trying to do today is not what so many of us have labored over for eight years.

Thank you for reading and thank you for your work in saving local seeds every where. This is not only my viewpoint, but shared by the majority of all the pioneers that put this thing in motion. I was there from before the beginning and I helped craft and shape this organization - it is my priviledge and life's work.

David King
Founding Chair
Seed Library of Los Angeles

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