Organizing 101

pigs1)  Review the ordinance template, and tailor it to your town if changes are needed.  When the ordinance is complete, get it on the town warrant.

2)  Know what our state constitution says about your right to self-governance, and what the state laws are regarding agriculture and home rule.

3)  Know your community!

What is the governance structure in your community?  Who makes the decisions?  for example, do you have town meetings, or a city council, or a town manager, etc.

Identify people and groups who will be on your side, and those people or groups who will oppose you.  Think about churches, civic organizations, your local Chamber of Commerce, activist groups, etc.

Identify both official and unofficial community leaders.

4)  Shape your arguments.  Develop the best reasons for supporting your ordinance, and provide the evidence that you are right.  Anticipate the positions of those who will be against you and develop responses to those arguments.

5)  Media strategy.

Local, county, state or regional newspapers, radio and television stations.

Identify any potential allies among the reporters/commentators.

Approach the press in positive ways that emphasize the support you have in the community.

Create your own media, in addition to or instead of the press (if they are unreceptive).  E-mail lists, Facebook, and going door-to-door are all effective ways of reaching people.

6)  Analyze your strengths and weaknesses, and work to turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Know that you are not alone and that you do not have to reinvent the wheel.  Gather a small group, get started, and watch it grow.  Use existing networks and models, and add new ones as they arise.  Don’t stop refining the message, putting the word out, and adding allies.  Commit and persist.  

Contacts

Heather Retberg, Penobscot–326-9082, phabc@localnet.com
Bonnie Preston, Blue Hill–374-3636, bonniepreston@earthlink.net
Hendrik Gideonse, Brooklin–359-8510, gideonse@midmaine.com
Cathy Lee, Livermore–897-3286, organicandotherwize@yahoo.com