What Is a Seed Group?


History, Background and Definition of a “Seed Group”


The origin of the seed group concept was birthed from the sunflower logo of FoCuS representing our human relationship with our very beginnings; the soil, water and sunlight required for a healthy start, nutrients to support luxuriant growth; and ongoing proliferation of seeds to follow. The relationship between seed groups and the mother sunflower is symbiotic and transparent, cooperative and collaborative.


In 2006, FoCuS became a 501c3 educational nonprofit, tax exempt organization whose vision provides the mechanisms for our communities and leaders to bring about social, economic, environmental health and prosperity to our local region.


As the people who were first attracted to the concept of FoCuS, a nonprofit collaborative began to explore its potential vision and goals, ideas were cast like seed into particular grounds for action. From this ground, what might be referred to as interest groups or committees sprouted. The term seed group took hold as it signifies dispersion and germination of ideas and the inspiration for new forms of education and business endeavors with our diverse communities.


Immediate areas of interest were agriculture/food, energy/shelter, health and well-being, transportation, land use and planning, co-housing, ecological building, and a green business network. Some areas of interest drew enough attention to form seed groups which organized and took action.


New seed groups are yet to be born. Each of the seed groups aligns its purpose to the core values and mission of FoCuS, that of: education groups and individuals about community self-reliance, creating mutual well-being for all; while developing its own vision and strategic goals, objectives, actions and projects.


FoCuS has identified the lens of sustainability through which we view our relationship to our social lives (community); to the earth (resources); to the economy (how do we provide for ourselves and do business in the world?); and to consciousness (thoughtful action and choice). What is reflected in that lens is a future that provides for generations of people with choices about the quality of life they desire for themselves, their families and communities. How that is carried forth into communities will be the fruit of each seed group’s unique charge and program of action.


FoCuS’s vision is to bring about a greater awareness of the unlimited possibilities for renewal through community action. We recognize that individuals have particular passions and expertise and are pulled to their seed group as members of a larger movement toward a sustainable future. Each seed group of FoCuS helps support the larger efforts of collaboration and education. Commitment to and action in seed groups utilize the available expertise, build awareness, and develop strong relationships that can realize the larger vision of sustainability.


Featured Seed Group: Arnold Rim Trail

Arnold Rim Trail



1)      Every FoCuS seed group is part of the larger sunflower called Foothill Collaborative for Sustainability, a 501c3 educational nonprofit, tax exempt organization. Seed group participants are asked to join FoCuS and become dues-paying members.

2)      Seed Groups have their own vision and set of goals with an overall shared mission and core values in alignment with FoCuS. The Board of FoCuS decides whether a group qualifies for “Seed Group” status based on a group’s mission, core values and vision as well as their work in the community.

3)       Seed groups operate independently (i.e., have their own steering committee, organize events, etc.) and are fiscally responsible for maintaining a positive balance in their account. If a seed group chooses to have its own dues, grant money or donations through the nonprofit status of FoCuS, these funds will be administered by FoCuS at a cost of 7% of gross. Incoming money will be earmarked for that particular seed group and the money spent at the discretion of seed group leaders. The seed group leader will communicate and collaborate with the FoCuS treasurer as needed. Amendment to bylaw with respect to 7% (11/2011): “Administrative handling fee of 7% to be charged on gross income on all events. Failed events may be brought to the Board for review.”

4)      Seed groups are expected to attend a Board Meeting at least twice per year in addition to providing quarterly written or oral report.

5)      Seed group leaders are encouraged to send publishable articles, updates and news to newsletter editor to use at his/her discretion.

6)      Seed groups are free to self-organize as they see fit, deciding on the internal structure that serves their goals. The Board requests that seed groups advise of any changes to bylaws and/or changes to the leadership structure (including names of the steering committee).

7)      Proposed projects and events, other than standard educational workshops, need to be approved by the Board, as an additional rider on our insurance policy may need to be purchased. If this is the case, the seed group agrees to provide the money from their account to cover the additional cost of a higher premium. Amendment to Bylaw 10/7/11: Seed groups seed Board approval and submit a summary report outlining the use of funds for projects over the total amount of income in their “account.” Seed groups let the Board know their leadership structure and provide names of officers/leaders.

8)      A written copy of the FoCuS bylaws and mission statement will be provided to every seed group leader to review with new members


Benefits for seed groups:

A.    Use of the nonprofit status for the purpose of acquiring grant monies and tax deductible donations.

B.     Support from the Board of Directors with direction, organization, finances, expertise, liaison, and administration.

C.     Have a broader outreach as part of a larger organization through membership lists, publicity, events and email.

D.    Become a presence on the FoCuS website and in the FoCuS newsletters.

E.     Have opportunities to make presentations at community events as part of a larger organization.

F.      Have administrative support from the FoCuS Executive Director and Board members.

G.    Have credibility and added value as a member of FoCuS which will grow in its scope and position in the community.

H.    Have executive director’s assistance in researching and acquiring grant monies for potential projects.

I.       Ability to offer workshop offerings supported by FoCuS through its educational program.

J.       Provided opportunity to be chosen as FoCuS’s emphasis for the year, e.g., “School Garden Initiative 2008.”