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The Future of HON and the Forum

Posted by Brittany Kordick 
The Future of HON and the Forum
March 09, 2022 04:23PM
It seems like there is enough interest in having a conversation about how to keep the Holistic Orchard Network and affiliated forum alive, well, and moving forward after the loss of its founder and caretaker to open a new topic of discussion. It sure would help if we had a better understanding of HON's ultimate nature, and it's hard to know who to turn to for guidance here. Is it even appropriate for us as a loosely affiliated group to talk about where to take this venture? I mean, was it so intrinsically Michael's creation that it falls to his family or otherwise designated heirs to determine its fate, rather than we users? I ask this question in true ignorance, wanting, yes, HON to move forward as part of Michael's legacy, but at the same time, not wanting to step on any toes.

It is appealing to open this up for democratic participation, and in a way, this feels like, whatever the official nature of the HON and the forum and its relationship to Michael, the maker has created a sentient being with a life of its own! I had brought up the HON advisory board members as those seemingly most naturally poised to discuss possibilities for the future, at least in the short-term, but there again, I am doing this in full ignorance of the ultimate nature of our board's status. Perhaps we are obsolete, given Michael's passing; I honestly don't know. We were not any kind of clandestine shadow entity behind the HON scenes (I know Michael lists board members somewhere on the website, and has also given us shout-outs in 'Community Orchardist' newsletters), nor, apparently, operating in any kind of official oversight capacity. Other board members please chime in if my understanding is incorrect, but it seems as though we were simply a group of people Michael relied on for advice on site content and design and occasional delegation of duties with regards to HON maintenance. We were privvy to basic discussion of HON finances as part of Michael's desire to keep everything as transparent as possible whilst, as the site's funder? owner? director?, he necessarily retained ultimate control over how HON money was spent.

At any rate, it sure seems like the will is there to find a way forward, and the most immediate task is figuring out a way to harness all this potential energy. People are literally and figuratively asking how they can help and give funding to HON left and right! I myself had a check written out to pay for the "golden apples" of annual HON membership and had intended to hand it to Michael in person this past week. Is it still appropriate to send it in to his orchard address?

Kordick Family Farm
Westfield, NC
Zone 7a

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2022 04:54PM by Brittany Kordick.
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
March 09, 2022 04:37PM
Obviously, you type faster than me.

I'd also say great minds think alike, but I don't want to insult you. ;-)

Washington Okanogan Valley
Zone 6b
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
March 09, 2022 04:47PM
Moonlighting as a transcriptionist for a while had its plusses, and while I hated the job itself, it sure is handy to be able to type like the wind! I am honored by all the great minds thinking alike and not standing on ceremony here as we fumble forward! So pick a thread, any thread, and chime in if you've got something to say.

Kordick Family Farm
Westfield, NC
Zone 7a

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2022 05:04PM by Brittany Kordick.
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
March 09, 2022 07:31PM
I just want to clarify that by using the word clandestine I didn't mean anything necessarily secretive or nefarious going on, I just didn't understand the BOA's role in the past and I don't understand its role going forward. Without Michael, how does the BOA function, if at all? Apart from some mentions here and there, it didn't have an outward-facing role as far as I could tell.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
March 13, 2022 10:01PM
I'll throw out the simple idea that a steering committee of active network members be formed with the purpose of identifying how HON can continue to function and provide the ongoing dialogue and resources needed to support and advocate for growing fruit holistically. There are several possible scenarios for a post-Michael structure for HON and a diverse group of those currently engaged will likely be able to reach consensus on the most 'fruitful' path forward. My suggestion and hope is that a few of the Stump Sprouts group will have the time and energy to reach out to others in the network to form such a group.

An immediate advantage would be having a dedicated group who can work with Nancy and Grace and Webspinner Potts to deal with any transition, financing or website maintenance in a timely manner. Beyond that, consideration of how to best engage a far flung and demographically diverse membership so the network keeps its broad, holistic appeal seems important. I don't know the current demographics of our group or if there are enough potential apple 'nerds' out there but like Michael and many of the rest of you have expressed; sharing and demonstrating that understanding natural processes and working with them to grow our food is necessary, humbling and the right thing to do.

Pommes de Terre Acres
USDA Zone 5 - Dixon, Montana
Intermountain West Region
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
March 24, 2022 07:25AM
If I may contribute my 2 cents from the cheap seats (i.e., a non-commercial / backyard orchardist):

I really hope HON continues in some form or another. It is a totally unique resource. Maybe that evolves now, maybe not. But, though I never met Michael, it seems like continuing HON, in one way or another, would also be a an important way to honor him and his work.

FWIW, I hope those of you who are/were more active on HON and with Michael (BOA or otherwise) do not sell yourselves short. My guess is you are only "simply a group" in the sense that any concerted community effort is "simply a group" -- often the best starting point for community change (be it agricultural or otherwise). Of course, I can appreciate it is a tall task for many people who are already very busy. So I don't mean to make anyone feel beholden to HON.

I guess I just wanted to note that, collectively, there seems to be a lot of great experience and leadership at HON. You seem to raise all good questions to consider, both in terms of short-term logistics and longer-term purpose. It seems that, with time and reflection, the BOA or others will be able to discern the right path forward.

Respectfully and with gratitude. -j

Zone 7a in West-Central MD
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
March 25, 2022 01:16PM
This may have been said. I didn't read this thread. But the backlog of information stored on this site is essential. I've only begun to dive into it. Would be a shame to lose that resource.
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
March 30, 2022 07:09PM
I agree with Mason. I dive into this forum as much as I dive into Michaels books and/or video. It is so great to read over everyone's findings over the years and assess whether those findings will work in our environment or not. It saddens me that we won't have Michael's voice of reason chime in during conversations, but I feel that we must continue the conversation nonetheless.
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
April 02, 2022 07:15PM
I'll post questions here, and then I'll finally type just the right keywords into Google or another browser and old HON forum threads pop up answering and expanding upon my original question. I'll have to try the search function on here again.

If the forum goes down all that info could be stored and readily available and searchable for little money I would think. At least back it up and distribute copies like scions so someone in the future could do so.
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
April 02, 2022 08:14PM
It should be noted that the HON and the forum aren't going anywhere. I have agreed to take over as moderator, and a core group of apple addicts have stepped up to help in other supportive roles with the network, including newsletter and other outreach. Michael Potts still at the helm of all things IT. This is just an update, as we will publish the details soon. Rest assured this site is currently safe. And as always, financial support is forever helpful.
Re: The Future of HON and the Forum
April 03, 2022 01:12AM
Thank you Todd, Brittany, and others who have stepped up to keeping the forum vibrant here. It really feels alive.
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