April 3rd Conference Call

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH)

Bi-Weekly Tuesday Conference Call Meeting

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Attending: Rick, Gail, Kate, Rick, Julie W., Ellen, Pam, Clint, Shannon, Debbie, Julie M.

Committee/Council Updates (20 min)

  1. Environmental Committee – Julie W.
    1. Has been meeting once per month. They are working on an interactive infographic, showing a home residential, urban landscape, with interactive buttons that highlight an environmental landscape that they feel would be applicable in many regions. People would visit the infographic on a hosted site, and the host will have the ability to customize the messages that come up when people click on a button.
    2. One button is “plants for pollinators.” When you click, it will lead to regionally specific information on pollinator plants. Could be geared to beginning, advanced gardeners.
    3. Could be a good way for local universities to partner with local businesses (nurseries and landscape organization). Host institution and partners can customize the message. Call out buttons could be surveys, videos, plant lists.
    4. Some of the other buttons: ‘bee lawns,’ ‘rain gardens’
    5. Lauren has managed the literature review, and to support what other committee members are writing on different buttons.
    6. The info-graphic is being used to drive the literature review. The field of environmental horticulture is so broad, and there is so much to cover, that the info-graphic (informed by their work as Extension educators) helps to narrow the field.
    7. Q: Would this be a NICH-branded output? A: it would be NICH, and whoever co-hosts.
    8. To Do: Clint and Julie will follow up, offline.
  2. Marketing Committee – Suzi
    1. The last of four infographics have gone out through networks.
    2. Committee wants to get back to an ‘industry first’ approach in our marketing: how do we get the word out to the industry? How do we get more people involved from a nursery center perspective, a breeder’s perspective?
    3. Our mission is to cultivate a gardening culture . . . But we need to do this for folks who work within the industry. Many people work in the industry, but don’t garden.
    4. Q: how many people do we have on our mailing list? A: ~300, but it should be 3,000
    5. Mason Day has agreed to put on a strategy through LinkedIn, to reach industry people
    6. Jordan has agreed to put on a strategy through Facebook, to reach industry people.
    7. Before we go after federal funds, we need to get strong backing from industry.
      1. There is still ambiguity about what we’re asking garden centers to do. What is ‘the ask,’ to get them involved? We must be very specific, about what we want ‘the ask’ to be. Perhaps the first ‘ask’ is to coordinate with industry trade publishers, to look at a way to convert a % of their weekly email list is to a subscriber list for NICH.
      2. The simplest ask that we have ‘just join the effort,’ ‘just join our email list.’
      3. Academicians have strong industry contacts. Get our industry contacts to follow up. Get our Extension agent colleagues to sign up. For Extension agents ~ NICH involvement makes a strong case for why Consumer Horticulture is essential.
      4. To Do: Ellen will go through the list of folks who have written letters of support and will add them to the mailing list
      5. To Do: Pam and Suzi will work on crafting specific messages to different audiences, ‘why NICH?’: for the industry, for Extension agents, for non-profits.
      6. Q: can strategy also hit Master Gardeners and other gardeners? A: at this point, we need to get industry behind us, first.
    8. For March, on a national level, the weather has slowed sales at many garden centers.

ByLaws Committee – Rick Durham (15 min)

Ellen, Shannon, Julie M., Rick were on the committee that worked to develop bylaws

  1. Thus far, Rick has received comments from three folks.
  2. Rick went through the comments received, on the different sections
    1. Name, Definition, Authority: folks thought this section might be too narrow, might exclude people who might want to be NICH members
      • Rick’s response: because we are the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture, and since there is confusion surrounding Cons Hort ~ it is essential to define
      • Debbie: Seems traditional, and focused on the historical role of consumer horticulture. What might be missing, the role of industry in green infrastructure and functional spaces ~ the role of CH in the future?
      • Clint, Julie ~ what is missing is mention of gardeners or people
    2. Membership and Organizational Structure: committee had a hard time defining membership in NICH. And, should it be membership, or stakeholders? Decisions Made: The group settled on Membership AND stakeholders.
      • Tried to make clear that the Executive Committee is the decision-making body of NICH. Stakeholders have input via councils and committees, but NICH Executive Committee makes the decision.
      • Is there value to having two co-chairs? Committee feels like that it helps balance work, gives different groups a greater voice.
      • Should we have position descriptions for different Executive Committee members? As a rider to the bylaws? Maybe not in the bylaws. To Do: Executive Committee members (and committee members) should draft position descriptions for their respective roles.
    3. Election and Length of Service of Officers: need to pull up (make more clear) that it is a two-year term Most folks could be re-elected for a second two-year term.
      • Committee chairs not given that same limit. Committee chairs can step into other roles on the Executive Committee.
      • Other members of the Executive Committee will elect the chair (we want someone who has experience)
    4. Many kudos to Rick and committee for their efforts on the bylaws.

NICH National Meeting – June 27-29, 2018 – Atlanta, GA (20 min)

  1. Meeting Agenda (15 min) – Gail
    1. Gail will re-send out updated agenda to all for comment
    2. Ellen will work with Suzi to turn the agenda into something more ‘fun’ and ‘outward-facing.’
  2. Meeting Registration Update (5 min)- Ellen
    1. 32 people registered. The goal is to get 50 people. We are light on industry folks.
    2. Q: Is there anything written up that we can give to stakeholders: why the industry should attend. A: Suzi has a press release that we can send out via email ~ the ‘why’ and ‘why to come.’
    3. Some folks noted that they have industry folks who have not yet signed up for the meeting. Keep on them. It’s only April, and this is a June meeting. Keep reminding them.


Get comments on Bylaws to Rick Durham, will review at April meeting.

Get your stakeholders to register for the National meeting.