January 2017 – Message to all NICH Proponents

Greetings NICH Supporters

On behalf of our Executive Committee, I’m writing to let you know about the exciting things happening with the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH), our next steps, and how you can help us achieve our goal to get 90 percent of U.S. households gardening by 2025.

Since our inception in 2015, we’ve accomplished a great deal. Our website – consumerhort.org – details all the information and is a go-to resource for everything related to our movement.

Highlights for 2016

  • We defined our vision, mission, goals, and objectives at an executive retreat in Denver this past July. These are outlined at the NICH website.
  • Our Executive Committee formed, with officers. I am proud to serve as Inaugural Chair, with Ellen Bauske and Tom Underwood as Co-Chairs, and Gail Langellotto as Secretary.
  • Our Strategic Goal Committees were formed to accomplish the social, economic and environmental goals. Chairs Pam Bennett, Debbie Hamrick, and Julie Weisenhorn have staffed the committees with many highly regarded and engaged stakeholders.
  • We formed Leadership Councils for academic and government, industry and non-profits chaired by Rich Durham/ Margaret Pooler, Clint Albin and Shannon Spurlock/Tom Underwood.
  • We formed a Marketing and Communications Committee headed by Susan McCoy.
  • NICH presented a pre-proposal to the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), for a $50,000 planning grant to focus on preparing a strategic plan to develop a proposal for future funding. We appreciate so many of you who wrote letters of support on behalf of your institutions.
  • We spread the word. Several publications featured NICH, such as the Oregon Nursery Association’s Digger magazine and the 2017 Garden Trends Report GROW 365.
  • Several NICH Presentations were made at trade shows and conferences detailing our initiative.

Next Steps 2017

  • We received a request to submit a full proposal for a SCRI grant for $50,000 and are submitting it to the USDA/NIFA on March 1. These funds will be used to write a strategic plan to unify our voice in advance of the 2019 Farm Bill to ensure Congress hears the message, loud and clear, that consumer horticulture is important and federal funds are needed to achieve our vision.
  • We are gathering current economic research and will create infographics to demonstrate our $200 billion contribution to the economy.
  • We are continuing to speak at industry trade shows and winter professional symposia throughout the country.
  • We are launching the first phase of an awareness campaign targeted to decision makers and all aspects of the horticulture industry.

How Can You Help

  • We need your voice more than anything. Simply sign your name to our growing list of supporters by clicking here and tell your friends and colleagues to do the same. We will always welcome a letter of support from you as well.
  • Please forward this email to anyone you feel might be interested in joining us.
  • Join a Council or Committee. Find out how to get involved in any or all committees or councils from the website or just email me csclar@publicgardens.org for more info.
  • If you are with a Land Grant University, join SCC-85. This organization supports the NICH mission. Contact Natalie Bumgarner (nbumgarn@utk.edu) for more information.
  • Encourage the next generation of horticulturists by learning more about Seed Your Future, our close allies in industry awareness.
  • NICH is not soliciting funds at this time. We are seeking only support and awareness for the SCRI/NIFA grants and our movement as a whole.

With your support, NICH will bring together academia, government, industry and nonprofits to cultivate the growth and development of a healthy world through landscapes, gardens and plants – indoors and out. This unified voice will increase the value of and demand for all aspects of gardening, from horticultural grants at universities to attendance at public gardens to foot traffic in garden centers.

We look forward to great accomplishments in 2017, as the wide world of end-use horticulture finds its common spot – it’s NICH!

D. Casey Sclar
Inaugural Chair, National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture
Executive Director, American Public Gardens Association