January 10th Conference Call

Attending: Gail, Debbie, Margaret, Pam, Shannon, Casey, Ellen, Tom, Penny, Julie

1) Question from Community / Social Committee (Bennett)

a. Looking at objectives, can they take the objective that says ‘Provide policy makers info that supports the social, ecological, economic impacts of community hort’ and make it the responsibility of all committees

i. Social committee will work with other two groups to make sure that these items are covered

b. Group is going to start a social media campaign. They want to use a hashtag. Is there one that we can agree on that we can all use?

i. To do: Committee will come back with a few hashtags to consider. Want feedback from Suzi and Clint (marketing professionals) on hashtags. We may end up using more than one hashtag, where #consumerhort is one hashtag.

ii. Others mentioned include: #loveplants, #findyournich

2) Upcoming Opportunities to promote NICH (Sclar and others)

a. Presentations: PA Nursery and Landscape Association

i. Digger Article Republished in February 2017 issue of the SCOOP (MN Nursery and Landscape Association trade show publication) and will be republished in February 2017 issue of the Urban Agriculture Council Magazine (Georgia)

b. Trade shows: MANTS (Mid-Atlantic Nursery and Trade Show) ~ Margaret will be there on Thurs, Clint is there now

c. ListServ Posts: Some time has passed since we’ve reached out to listserv community with an update about NICH.

i. Should we send something out after every bi-weekly meeting? Monthly?

ii. Notes could include key committee and council highlights, key outcomes.

iii. We can put together a schedule of rotating authors. For example, Debbie could profile the economic committee members.

iv. To Do: Casey will develop draft of a listserv post, for this purpose, and will dialogue with Debbie about the post.

d. Reminder about tools you have to make you look great! NICH Outreach Documents are on the Box site (Contact Gail for access). Please send record of outreach regarding NICH to Tom Underwood (tunderwood@ahs.org)

3) Brief Reports from Councils:

a. Public / NGO (M. Pooler): working to get council together to work on charge

b. Industry (Albin): added three new members to the council (sent to Ellen), looking forward to MANTS (Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show)

c. NGO (Spurlock/Underwood): eight confirmed members (names sent to Ellen), had first meeting in mid-November, will set up follow up meeting

4) NICH Organizational Structure and Legal Formation

a. Tom had a conversation with an attorney that AHS works with, regarding legal formation of NICH. S/he is willing to work with us on this.

b. For this organization to keep growing and thriving, it needs to have its own face / own identity.

c. Concerns: conflict of interest (competition with other efforts, such as Seed Your Future, or putting someone in a research-compromised position w/ non-disclosure); conflict of interest with public members of NICH (if NICH lobbies, some publicly-employed members of NICH can not participate)

i. For organizations that lobby, NICH members can serve as ex-officio members

ii. Advocating for increased knowledge has no conflict of interest, but advocating for legislation/funding is where potential conflict may arise.

iii. How much (if any) will lobbying/influencing legislation be a part of what we’re doing? How much will NICH be grant-funded, versus funded by other means?

iv. Federal employees can have no fiduciary role and no lobbying, in any way. Can’t be an advocate for the industry, but can be an advocate for making sure that industry understands what it is that NICH is doing. Can be on a grant, but can’t do anything that would imply anything associated with lobbying.

v. It would help to get clarity on what it is that we’re trying to achieve. Is it educational advocacy? Is it to work closely with American Hort or other organizations to influence policy/legislation/funding?

5) Roles of NICH Chairs and ExCom Members (Sclar) ~ refer to document entitled ‘National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) Officers, Committees, and Councils – Roles and Goals’

a. Walks through suggested terms of service

b. Suggests measures of success for our work

c. Feedback on the document?

6) Upcoming Deadlines and Action Items (Floor):

a. Next conference call, January 17th at 10am EST

b. No further action items from the floor