January 24th Conference Call

Attendees: Casey Sclar, Debbie H., Suzi, Ellen, Clint, Tom U., Margaret, Rick, Pam, Gail, Penny, Julie

1) SCRI Proposal (Ellen and Gail):

Our SCRI proposal has been invited to submit a full proposal, due March 1, 2017. This means that we passed the industry relevance review. There were no or few scientists on this first panel. Full submission will need to be more technical / need to appeal to science reviewers. Ellen’s support for the full proposal at UGA is very positive. Challenge will be the budget ~ accurate estimates needed, as if we are awarded the proposal, then we won’t be able to vary (much) from what we propose. There is very little guidance in the RFA about what we can spend the funds ($50,000) on.

Two tracks we can take: strategic plan, or planning grant for a larger SCRI proposal.


Challenges ~

• five legislatively mandated programs concentrate on production. The best fit for us would be pollinator protection. We may be able to forge into new SCRI territory with our proposal.

• When and how do we engage with the Farm Bill Alliance? Jill and Craig from American Hort should be our conduit to the Farm Bill Alliance. We need to understand what the priorities will be. Will pollinators remain a priority? Workforce development? We need a 2-3 person team to work on meeting with / discussions with American Hort. We should have a broader / more formal presentation to the American Hort Board, at Cultivate (2nd week in July). Debbie H., Ellen, Tom U., Clint, Suzi, Casey are on that team. Ellen mentioned a legislative day in DC in September ~ what American Hort will discuss with legislators. Who knows board members on American Hort? Board members include Seth Reed, who participated in our Denver meeting. Make phone calls to them, so that they already understand what it is that we do, before Cultivate.


a. Thank you notes to supporters: we received 39 letters of support. The complete list of supporters is on our website. If you solicited a letter of support, please send them a thank you note letting them know that our pre-proposal has been accepted for full submission. This would not have happened without your support. We look forward to working with you

b. Next steps: talk to Tom B. about budget constraints, as well as science reviews. Gail and Ellen will chat next week. Waiting to receive comments from industry relevancy reviewers. We need to be looking forward to the next Farm Bill, and how it will address specialty commodities that aren’t commodities ~ but are focused on consumers.

c. To Do:

i. Set up conference call between team members who will work on connecting with American Hort board members. Potential deadlines include July (Cultivate) and September (legislative days) message. Team members include: Debbie H., Ellen, Tom U., Clint, Suzi, Casey.

ii. All: thank you note / follow up to our supporters on the SCRI pre-proposal.

2) Social Media Discussion Follow-Up (Pam)

a. Possible hashtags for consideration: has not been able to meet, just yet.

b. Do hashtags need committee approval? No ~ but we can amplify our message if we’re all using the same / similar hashtags.

c. To Do: Pam and Suzi to connect on the marketing / social committee actions. Marketing committee meets Thursday, Feb. 2nd. Pam and Suzi to touch base sometime in the next week.

3) Brief Reports/Updates

a. Committees (Social, Economic, Environmental)

i. Social (Pam): no report

ii. Economic (Debbie): met last Friday. Charlie Hall has a grad student (Sarah) who will be updating the compendium articles on the economic and environmental benefits of horticulture. Sarah is participating in the economic committee’s conference call. Jennifer Gray from AmericanHort joined conference call last Friday. Jennifer has expertise on infographics. Committee put together talking points that Jennifer can use on an infographic. Goal is for us to have a concept at the committee’s next monthly meeting, in February (2/17/2017). What the economic committee has developed should be ready for Executive Committee to see, in our near term (potentially 2/21/2017).

iii. Environmental (Julie): no report

b. Councils (Academic/Public, Industry, Non Profit)

i. Academic / Government (Rick/Margaret): can gather potential science reviewers who could take a look at the strategic planning proposal to give a science review of our SCRI planning grant.

ii. Industry / Commercial (Clint): after winter trade show, had more folks want to participate / add their name as supporters. Clint will send these names to Ellen.

iii. Non-Profit (Shannon/Tom): no report

4) Comments on Structure and Roles as Discussed on Jan. 10 (Casey and others)

a. Roles and Goals Document: committees, council, officers.

b. To Do: All: take a look at the roles and goals document, for feedback at our next conference call.

c. Should our group be focused on marketing, education, and awareness? Leave lobbying to American Hort. That would allow us to build on the relationships that we have and to capitalize on the expertise of our group.

5) Quick Updates (Floor)

a. Tom will be moving to the Birmingham Botanical Garden in February, but will continue involvement with NICH. The garden has a good public/private partnership with Alabama Extension. Interim Director of AHS has been appointed (Holly), while a search is conducted for a new Executive Director.

Next Conference Call: February 7, 2017

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