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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 4,854
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Figs 4 Fun Foundation


The specific purpose of this Foundation shall be to enhance public awareness, knowledge and adoption of edible figs through collecting, preserving, researching and distributing the many varieties of Ficus carica.

The Figs 4 Fun collection started more than 10 years ago when I began the personal quest for a few additional figs that were as good as my Vista Black Mission (now known by DNA to be Violette de Bordeaux). At that time I would have been content with adding two or three more varieties to my varied fruit tree collection.  After discovering that they could be grown from cuttings, my world expanded, and before long there were 100 varieties, and then 200, and in just a few years many hundreds. About 2 years ago I began duplicating the collection to lower the risk of losing varieties. The collection now consists of about 1500 trees. The vastness of the collection is largely a testimony to the sharing nature of the fig community which has made it possible.

It became apparent that there was a stewardship issue with a collection of this size and diversity. I do not expect to live forever. If the collection was to continue to be enjoyed, shared and made available to the larger fig community, provisions for that future needed to be developed. Many options were explored, but in the end, the best option seemed to be their own home. To that end, the Figs 4 Fun Foundation has been established as a California corporation as of July 2012.

The Foundation is starting out small, with an initial Board of Directors who will be responsible for safeguarding the current collection and continuing to add to it in the future. We are applying for non-profit status, which will take several months to complete. A project of this magnitude, starting quite literally from nothing, is an immense undertaking and will only succeed with the continued support of the fig growing community that made it possible.

The goal is to preserve and increase the collection and to provide a permanent home for the collection as an in-ground orchard, most likely somewhere in San Diego County. We desire to make the collection accessible to all, including the distribution of cuttings so that many largely unknown varieties can be widely distributed and enjoyed.

In the very near future we will be requesting participation by the entire fig community as we seek to make this vision a tangible reality. This will involve funding for the project and, just as importantly, the sharing of additional varieties which are in the hands of many in the fig community and which will enhance the collection for the benefit of all.

Jon Verdick
August 4, 2012

Donate Here


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 619
Reply with quote  #2 
Wonderful news Jon.
Looking forward to info on how we can help.

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Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 2,514
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Jon.  You have my support.


Registered: 11/10/10
Posts: 195
Reply with quote  #4 
Excellent! It will be an honor to contribute!

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Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 479
Reply with quote  #5 
Count me in to would love to help out thank Jon for all you do.

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Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 3,633
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Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 933
Reply with quote  #7 
Great news. You can count on us.
A diverse board with a wide range of interest (and experience) is important.

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Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 2,766
Reply with quote  #8 
Jon, best of luck with the fig foundation. This is actully a great idea and you are obviously the best person to do it.

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Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 947
Reply with quote  #9 
Sounds great.  Looking forward to seeing the ways to contribute additional figs to your collection, how you organize the foundation, etc.


Registered: 07/23/11
Posts: 647
Reply with quote  #10 
Sounds like a super Idea, plus a super tasks. Count me in.


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Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 787
Reply with quote  #11 
Jon, this is great.

Registered: 08/21/10
Posts: 375
Reply with quote  #12 
Definitely a worthy endeavor .
After all you have done by providing this forum , the least we can do is give back by supporting the foundation .


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Registered: 07/10/08
Posts: 8,268
Reply with quote  #13 
Sounds like a good plant Jon keep us a breast.
Also sounds like your feeling your age as well.  ; )

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 2,025
Reply with quote  #14 
Good idea Jon. I suppose it is meant for US citizens because it is a non profit organisation.

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Registered: 09/08/07
Posts: 720
Reply with quote  #15 
Congrats Jon! Glad this adventure is off the ground. If you need help fund raising, let me know.

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Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 947
Reply with quote  #16 
Sounds great Jon.  Sounds like a way to ensure continuation of so much you've been doing as well as providing some structure for sharing the efforts involved.  Do you envision any coordination with NCGR for things like, say, ongoing collection development?  (In an ongoing sense, I mean).  Or remain  independent?  I see the mission that you outlined being broader than NCGR of course (in specifics of your collection as well as the mission you outlined).  Also wondering if you envision any public funding, or totally private contribution?  In any case, sounds great and a good endeavor, and much wishes for continuing success!


Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #17 
Good idea. I think the foundation can get fuding support from individual contributions and Government grants too. Project to benefit the future public generations.

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Registered: 09/29/10
Posts: 54
Reply with quote  #18 
Awesome! I have some non-profit experience (I work at a large non-profit museum on the East Coast) and am willing to help in some capacity.

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Registered: 02/28/12
Posts: 1,963
Reply with quote  #19 

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 299
Reply with quote  #20 
Excellent idea, I'm sure it will be a huge success!


Registered: 07/31/08
Posts: 258
Reply with quote  #21 
An excellent, worthy project. Thank you Jon.  Keep us up to date on the
Foundations needs.

Registered: 03/06/11
Posts: 231
Reply with quote  #22 
Great Plan Jon.., We pray for your huge success from here...., A lot of people have been learning from this forum about figs 


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Registered: 10/20/07
Posts: 2,110
Reply with quote  #23 
Best wishes for its success.

Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 530
Reply with quote  #24 
An excellent step towards a figgy future. Are there any plans to additional collection sites around the country?


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Registered: 07/12/10
Posts: 242
Reply with quote  #25 
Great idea, Jon!  I'll help in any way needed.

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Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 6,405
Reply with quote  #26 
awesome idea :)

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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 4,854
Reply with quote  #27 

Thank you for the many kind responses. This is the beginning, but the ultimate success will depend on the entire fig community and beyond. After a lot of paperwork is done, and all the “i”s and “t”s appropriately adorned, the real work will begin: finding money, property, adding varieties, and the like.


For those who will want to expand and add to the collection, the next year will be the time to start new plants from cuttings, to make air-layers, etc.


JD: Great advice, which was echoed at a recent SCORE seminar which addressed many of the issues involved in choosing board members, and what leads to a successful board environment. I do understand the need for diversity. There is a lot of work that doesn’t involve figs: ccounting, grant writing, thank-you notes, communication, website, begging, and so much more. Hopefully this week, or next I will have the opportunity to encourage a small group of such people to help with this endeavor, even if it is short term.


Martin: maybe not feeling the age so much at this time, but knowing that it is coming. I am definitely not getting younger.


Paul: The tax benefits are clearly geared toward Americans, but that does not preclude participation by anyone else in the fig community. Non-profit makes the money easier to attract (supposedly), and makes it go further.


Sue: You will definitely get your opportunity!


Mike: I expect to have a good working realtionship with NCGR/USDA/UC Davis. This month will be my fifth visit to the collection at Wolfskill. They have limited funding and staffing, which is a hurdle that we should have some opportunities to overcome. I do not want that to be construed as finding fault with any part of their program, but it is a reality which they must deal with.  Additionally, their raison d’etre is more narrow than what I envision ousr should be. Hopefully we will be able to partner with them to enable distribution of more the the varieties which they currently posess, and do it in a way that mitigiates the fiscal impact for them. Not that any are even in the discussion stage, but there are some possible public sites locations for siting the orchard, and possibly some non-public ones that might come at little or no cost.


Dave: if you have experieince in fundraising and the like, I am all ears. This is not an  area of expertise for me. I expect will be getting better at it real soon. If you have sources, ideas, techniques (I have been reading about crowd funding), please share.


Chris: Siting of an orchard is obviously a complex issue. An eastern site would probably be more accessable to more people, though the miracle of cuttings helps mitigate a ,lot of the distance issues. Winter weather is certainly a major factor in locating such a collection. Who want’s to winterize 2000 trees? And, after all, I am here in paradise, where that is not an issue. ;-)) Time will tell how this will develop. I learned from USDA/UC Davis the importance of having multiple trees (and my own experience confrims this), so there is the real possibility that that duplication could be in two locations, rather than at one. Some of the trees at WEO were badly damaged by in unusually cold winter and freeze, and many years later still evidence that trauma.


And to everyone else, if you have ideas, please e-mail. This is going to be an adventure, and I fully understand that no one person, including me, has all the answers.


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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 3,724
Reply with quote  #28 
Happy to hear this public!

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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 4,854
Reply with quote  #29 
I will have a better idea at the end of the month.

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Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 6,405
Reply with quote  #30 
on going public awareness and eduction will help to bring more interest to the figs. once all the dust settles maybe creating state chapters, and members giving free education at barnes and nobles or places like that.

i have been giving some information to cub scouts, and not all, but some of the boys and parents seems to be very interested. maybe contacting BSA, Girl Scouts, and 4H would also help to spread the joy.

you need younger people to jump on the band wagon so the future will be secured for the figs. just a thought..

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Registered: 09/04/07
Posts: 2,208
Reply with quote  #31 
Excellent work Jon, and I fully support the project. 
Have you thought about funding from local universities? 


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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 4,854
Reply with quote  #32 
Pete, I understand what you are saying - I was involved with CRFG for about 25 years, and they are focused on exposing people of all ages to new things in the fruiting world.

Registered: 08/24/11
Posts: 29
Reply with quote  #33 
Many government agencies have funds specifically set aside for cross boarder collaboration. I know Virginia has a memorandum of understanding with Germany, and there are similar situations for other states. There are also several G8 Multilateral International Opportunities Fund Initiatives. I am most familar with the science ones but I am sure there are agriculture ones along the same vein.

P.S. Congrats

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 602
Reply with quote  #34 
Sounds great.  I bet you have more varieties than anyone in the world.  I have a friend whose twin boys are realily into plants.  I bet they would love tolearn ad help in some way as they dont live to far away.  

Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #35 

I love this idea, please hit me up for help if you need it.




Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #36 
Wonderful! Joined Figs 4 Fun, just now...I've enjoyed figs since 1956, when my Dad and I picked them (with permission) from a neighbor's yard at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. My Dad made fig jam, and we sealed the jars with paraffin. Aunt Laurie and Uncle Tom (Portuguese) had both dark and light figs in their large gardens in San Leandro, CA. I've recently come across a ~100 year old fig in central California with a circumference of about 340 ft, and a diameter of 100 ft. HUGE ! I'm propagating, now, following your directions. I would love to visit your gardens and trade scions!

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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 4,854
Reply with quote  #37 
Nelson, e-mail about where to send your $1 million check.

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 82
Reply with quote  #38 
Jon, how about setting up a paypal donation link to the foundation? I think my wife did that once for an organization, and it didn't seem too hard. That way if someone who was only temporarily obsessed with figs wanted to impulsively contribute financially to the effort it would be easy and user friendly.

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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 4,854
Reply with quote  #39 

That is a great idea and it will definitely be coming. There are more paperwork and organizational issues that need to be finished to obtain our tax-exempt status. As we work on that, we will also be opening bank accounts (gotta have that to accept Paypal), starting a website, setting up Paypal, and a host of other things.

The goal is to be able to get these up and running in a month or two, and be in a position to offer tax deductibility (at least provisionally) before the end of the year.

if I wasn't persuaded that this needed to be started, I would definitely not be snuggling up to all of this paperwork. ;-))

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Registered: 01/01/12
Posts: 1,045
Reply with quote  #40 
A fabulous idea!!  I'll donate my $0.02 worth!!  Oh heck, it'll be more then that lol  Jon, good luck with this project, I know it is a labor of love.

Registered: 08/20/10
Posts: 200
Reply with quote  #41 
Great to hear about this effort, takes a lot of time and dedication. Congrats to Jon for working on getting this started.

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Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #42 
why not sell cuttings on ebay to raise money 4 cuttings for x amount of money depending on the cultivar.  With cuttings there's less overhead then plants and everyone can pitch in a few labeled cuttings this fall. add a donate button on each listing and you might be surprised. 

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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 4,854
Reply with quote  #43 
There are a lot of details to work out. All of these ideas will get looked at. I spent the entire evening (and a few before this) working on paperwork for the tax-exempt filing. It would be nice if these things grew on trees, but, alas, they don't.

One of the issues is that, at this point, they are my trees. Part of the impetus for this project is to make then NOT my trees - to give them a permanent home. Until we have the funds for a permanent home, they will probably continue to stay with me. Their current maintenance is largely paid for by the cuttings which are sold in February. The water bill this summer is about $600/month. We have to be careful about conflicts of interest, etc. between me and the Foundation. This is ultimately not a personal project, anymore, but is in the process of becoming a "public trust". Again, these are all issues that the new Board of Directors will have to wrestle with.

All ideas are welcome. No one currently involved in this project has all the answers. This will be a fig-community project if it is to succeed.


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Registered: 05/21/12
Posts: 973
Reply with quote  #44 
Count me in this is an awesome idea please let me know what i can do i have a limited selection of figs probably everyone has what i have but i would love to help any way i can.


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Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 3,315
Reply with quote  #45 
We contribute to the Arbor Day Foundation, and would be happy to contribute to Figs-4-Fun-Foundation.  I have purchased many gift memberships which includes 10 free trees for family members and friends from the Arbor Day Foundation.  Would love to do the same for Figs!!

I'm in!


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Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 3,315
Reply with quote  #46 
Jon, you have an entire network of fig lovers here who would be happy to propagate cuttings (easy) and send to outsiders who contribute to the "sustainable" living concept of the distribution of Fig trees!

Most of us don't want to sell on Ebay, and we are clueless about what to do with our gazillion cuttings!  For a good cause, our water bill, not yours, under the charity umbrella, so shipping is free, you have a team in place!!


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Registered: 07/15/09
Posts: 3,315
Reply with quote  #47 
Nobody's going to like this, but it is what it is. 

We all enjoy this forum, and enjoy the friends we have made here. 

In sales and marketing my entire life, I KNOW you pay for this site.  YOU!  Not us!  Amazes me that you do this, sell figs and cuttings and yet allow others to sell and trade figs on the site YOU pay for, and you don't even get a percentage!

As much as I hate garden web's advertising, you can pay them to not see it, but I don't, and I do see the ads.  click.  off.  But Garden Web only has a couple threads of interest to me, so I'll never subscribe.

I think you should consider advertisers to help defray your costs, and a membership fee for those who do not wish to see the advertising.

One day, our community here can put our heads together and come up with a list of potential advertizers.  As a start, any agricultural site, sustainable gardening, food network, edible landscaping, organizations that provide food for the homeless, irrigation solutions, pesticide solutions, grants for agricultural degrees, and stuff like that.

Wow!  We got serious thunder and lightening here!  Rain will follow!


Registered: 05/06/12
Posts: 63
Reply with quote  #48 
Please let me know want you need,you guy's have been great,i'am trying to learn,with the help of figs 4 fun,and the wonderful people i have meet,my trees are doing great.I found out the hard way,and now i try to buy all my trees from fig 4 fun members.Thank you,just let know how i can help.Vic from N.J.

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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 2,637
Reply with quote  #49 
My congrats Jon! And best of all luck.
You are the real/proven KING-fig person in our good USofA!

In the past, I have contributed to your good endeavor by
supplying you with most of my newly acquired fig variants.
Although a new 'burst' may be coming your way soon, I'm not
sure for how long this can carry on; I'm reaching my limits too!

You do distribute figs all over USA on a 'fair and balanced' method.

As for $$$'s help; none of us is any 'Bill Gates'; but, I for one, am
willing to contribute some reasonable amount(s)...

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Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 4,854
Reply with quote  #50 
Time for a bit of an update.

Needless to say, we are learning a lot about things we didn't know existed. May have to write a book about how to do this. The first seminar I attended only scratched the surface.

Our first Board of Directors meeting is next Monday. About 2 dozen things on the docket. But it all moves us closer. We DID it!

If insomnia is an issue, read Form 1023 Application for Tax-Exempt Status.
No offense to the IRS person reading this.

Completing and filing this form is our next big task.

We want to continue to welcome your ideas because this is a "community" adventure as well.
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