I have lots to do to wrap-up this year's successful Seed Exchange. On my to-do list: totaling the attendee numbers (my current rough count was 50+ registrants); tallying the evaluations; sending out thank yous to our speakers, sponsors, and volunteers; unpacking/repacking all the supplies and extra goody bags; sending out a wrap-up story and photos to the local press; etc.
This year we made a few improvements and changes that I think we'll keep for future years, including: setting the seed swap tables up in a middle row instead of against the wall which improved traffic flow and adding a "show 'n tell" period where people could talk about their seeds, other local garden groups and events, ask garden questions, etc.
Lessons learned this year:
1. Probably not going to work with the USNA again for the foreseeable future - being canceled on without warning just 5 days prior to the event took about 10 years off my life - at least all worked out for the better in the end and the Montgomery College location was a perfect solution for us.
2. Save the most sought after Door Prize items for last - though it is hard to predict which are the most coveted as that is highly subjective. Was it the gorgeous Seedheads book from Timber Press, the David Austin Roses, the hellebores from Sunshine Farm, the $100 gift certificate to Garden District, the Juneberry bush from Edible Landscaping, the worm tea from GlobalWorming, or one of the other 20+ items? All seem equally great to me.
3. Add a children's fee and maybe a few activities for the youngsters. Last year, for our first annual event, no one brought kids nor did they even ask to do so. This year, several asked and brought children prompting me to add a discount children's fee on the spot. Of course, this little fellow (pictured above) got in free-of-charge and was a perfect angel, allowing his parent's to enjoy the talks and peruse the seed selections at their leisure.
4. We had to cater it ourselves due to the venue change and loss of FONA food sponsorship. We had a more substantial food selection than last year's -- from the healthy (whole fruit and granola bars) to the filling (cheese crackers, cookie packs, and pecan rolls). All food was purchased as prepackaged and individually wrapped portions for sanitation and storage purposes. We hit the quantity right on the head. Next year, we may add more on the healthy end of the spectrum and perhaps look for another outside food sponsor.
Some early feedback:
~ Great Show on Saturday. - Peter
~ Good job, Kathy. It was a fun event! - Judy
~ Kathy, just wanted to commend you on the seed exchange. All the hardwork you put into it was very evident. I thought it was a great event!Congrats! - Cindy
Next year's Seed Exchange is 1/26/08 -- remember National Seed Swap Day is the last Saturday in January. Keep that in your date book!