Aims, Structure and Activities

1. Aims

(a) The Club’s interest is in sub-tropical and tropical fruit trees that can be grown in the South West of Western Australia. We don’t focus on other edibles or non-edibles.

(b) Members are encouraged to take on the challenge of expanding the range of species and varieties beyond those normally considered suitable for our climate.

(c ) Educative, with the hope that members will become more knowledgeable in the management of these plants to produce bountiful and delicious crops.

(d) Provide an effective means of facilitating interactions and sharing of knowledge and plant materials between fellow enthusiasts and growers.

(e) Promotion of the many benefits and enjoyment of regularly including a wide variety of healthy and tasty home-grown fruit in the diet.

(f) Development of lasting and valued friendships.

2. Structure

(a) The Club is a non-commercial, not-for-profit organisation. We do not supply plant material to the public.

(b) Membership is suitable for people interested in the botanical properties, management and other horticultural considerations of growing these plants, including private enthusiasts, commercial orchardists, and professionals from government, industry and research organisations. There is no need for nomination by existing members and no minimum entry requirements regarding horticultural knowledge or experience. The main qualifications are a willingness to learn, openly share knowledge, respect the rights of others, and active participation in club activities.

(c ) The club has to keep in mind that large numbers of attendees at site visit meetings in the Perth region where hosts may have suburban-sized properties represents a logistical problem. Accordingly, prospective new members will be informed whether there are places available for them or not.

(d) Membership fees per calendar year (non-refundable) are $15 single and $20pa for a couple. Payment of membership fees is not allowed at Meetings and should always be done by EFT after an electronic agreement to club rules has been obtained.

(e) Administrative matters are kept as simple as possible, and for the present the Club is un-incorporated without the need to comply with State government regulations regarding an annual tax audit, Annual General Meeting procedures, submission of Meeting Minutes etc. General club correspondence is electronic to minimise handling and postage costs.

(f) The Club is administered by an Executive elected by members for two-year periods at a regular meeting by a majority show of hands, provided a quorum of 25% of existing members is met. Positions are honorary & the policy is to spread administration so nobody is overloaded. Currently they are President, Secretary, Treasurer, Events Coordinator, Education Coordinator, Membership Registrar, Facebook Administrator, Meeting MC, Chair – South West Chapter, Newsletter Editor, Catering Manager, Web site Editor & Manager, & AV Manager. The current Executive will serve until elections in early 2024 when these positions will be reviewed, but a Special Meeting can be held at any time before then if requested by at least 15% of the membership.

(g) Member’s privacy should be respected at all times. Networking between individuals is encouraged, but email addresses of others should not be divulged without their prior consent. Only some of the Executive will maintain complete lists of all member contact details.

(h) Information and techniques are exchanged and demonstrated through regular meetings of members, maintenance of a web site containing relevant information, a regular e-Newsletter, a member-only Face Book Group, and other periodic communications. Suitable talks, demonstrations and tours are recorded (with permission) to allow members who could not make it to particular Meetings to benefit, and for future reference by all. Web site links provided for these recordings should not be passed on to non-members as this is a violation of author rights and their permission to grant conditional access.

(i) The Club web site is accessible to the public, and members are encouraged to contribute material (ie articles they have composed, photos illustrating important features, notification of upcoming events etc) to our Web Editor. The site contains horticultural information on fruit trees that can be grown or are currently being trialled by Club members in Western Australia, together with other important information such as a Glossary of botanical terms frequently encountered, Essays and Articles on fruit trees, soils and management etc, Recipes, and other Articles on the nutritional value of fruit. Members can nominate possible new species to be included on the site, with preference given to those already being grown or trialled. Contributed Articles over member’s names are the responsibility of the author for veracity of all statements.

(j) The club has a bank account which is used for all funds transacted through the Club. It is administered by the Club Treasurer, with two co-signatories of the Executive required for any withdrawal of funds. A Report on Club financial transactions is provided to members at the biennial elections, but can be obtained at other times by contacting the Treasurer.

3. Code of Conduct at Meetings.

(a) Club survey results to date regarding Meetings have been overwhelmingly in favour of site visits. For this to happen on a regular basis, members should be willing to volunteer as future hosts. There is no requirement for properties to have a minimum size or number of fruit trees as it’s important for others to appreciate how usually something can be productively grown no matter how limited the space. Similarly there is no requirement for hosts to have a minimum amount of experience as visits provide a valuable opportunity to obtain on-site advice from more experienced members. Whatever the nature of individual properties, one of the main goals of monthly meetings is to ensure that members have a regular opportunity to get together.

(b) Meetings are usually held on weekends once a month, with an attempt to vary these between Saturdays and Sundays depending on host preferences so as to maximise opportunities for members to be able to attend at least some sessions. The exact date each month is always subject to host preferences. There is usually a social event held during the winter period each year.

(c ) Normally with notice of upcoming meetings, no RSVP is required. But if hosts are concerned about unduly large numbers then this can be implemented. Hosts are not expected to provide other than some tables and access to power for hot water. Tea and coffee is provided by the Club.

(d) Attendees are expected to bring along a small sample of food that all can taste after the site tour, preferably something from their own property that is especially appreciated if it provides an opportunity for members to taste unusual fruit for the first time. The more unusual fruit tasting samples should be labelled (species, variety) so that members who are interested can follow up. Fruit placed on a table by members are for all to enjoy after the tour, and no one should take or consume undue quantities that compromises this intention. No one is expected to spend time cooking or buying elaborate dishes for these occasions.

(e) Members are required to wear their club badges to attend meetings. This encourages friendly discussion and facilitates future recognition and interactions. Badges are printed each year at Club expense. Re-issue of lost badges will incur a cost of $2.

(f) Those who have spare plant materials that other members might value (eg seeds, seedlings, grafting material etc) are encouraged to bring them along to Meetings for auction. Monetary proceeds from auctioned and donated material will be for the benefit of the club but can be divided 75% to members & 25% to the club if they wish. It is hoped that allowing proceeds to be split might encourage members to contribute & provide some reward for their efforts & generosity. The auctions help members acquire species at a cost usually less than offered through retail outlets, & in many cases would be otherwise unobtainable. Any bulk materials purchased through the club for the benefit of members are for personal use only; they are not meant to provide a source of materials for members to on-sell with profit-making intent.

(g) The RFC prides itself on giving objective and independent advice on growing fruit trees without being influenced by members who may wish to promote and sell products within the club for personal profit. Without approval by the Executive, club portals cannot be used as a means of advertising such product to a ready-made member clientele. Of course, one-on-one arrangements between members can always be made.

(h) When feasible, time will be allocated before the site tour for discussion of horticultural questions that members may have concerning their own plants. Often there will be presentations by experienced members or non-members on some relevant aspect of growing fruit trees in WA. There are usually workshops every year on important techniques such as grafting, typically beginning with a talk & demonstrations by experts, and thereafter allowing sufficient time for members to gain hands-on experience, with or without supervision. The goal is for all members to become practiced in these techniques rather than having to rely on a few others or buying expensive retail plants.

(i) With site visits, members always should respect the host’s property and not take any fruit, plant material or other items without express permission.

(j) Members should not invite guests to Meetings without authorisation; if these people wish to benefit from club activities they can enquire about membership through our web site. If there is a vacant place for them, and after they have accepted our club rules and received acknowledgement of payment from the club Treasurer, they will be welcome at Meetings. Family pets should not be brought to Meetings because of possible accidents and damage to the hosts’ plants.

(k) During site visits, members should give due regard to hosts during the tour with questions addressed through them. Members should not engage in side conversations that may distract others, or drift off in separate groups inspecting other plants. There will be sufficient time for individual and group discussions before and after the tour, and members should maximise these friendly and educative interactions as much as possible.

(l) The Club is not insured and members attend site visits entirely at their own risk and with permission of the owner/s. Hosts will give advance notice of any potential dangers on their property (eg an aggressive dog, snakes, bees, a steep cliff, an unstable wall, an open well etc) and members can then decide if they will attend. Similarly if the host believes a member poses an unacceptable risk of an accident, he/she can refuse entry.

(m) The Club and Executive does not accept any responsibility or liability in any form for possible injuries, accidents or loss of property during site visits. Submission of membership fees to become a financial member after agreeing electronically to this waiver, is taken as contractual evidence of acceptance of these conditions. This waiver applies also to host liabilities during a Club site visit.