January 8th Conference Call

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH), Executive Committee Bi-Weekly Conference Call, Tuesday, January 8, 2019 10am ET / 9am CT / 8am MT / 7am PT




Attendees: Casey, Missy, Sylvia, Pam, Gail, Mason, Mary Kay


THANK YOU to outgoing officers and welcome to new officers!


Contributions from outgoing members cannot be understated. Please take the time to extend gratitude.


-Outgoing: Co-Chair: Tom Underwood
Marketing Committee Chair: Suzi McCoy

-Incoming: Co-Chair: Sylvia Gordon Marketing Committee Chair: Mary Kay Woodworth


Strategic Tactics continued (Casey, Ellen)


Committee has evaluated the tactics identified in Atlanta for each of three big ideas and are moving on to develop a 12-18 month plan of focused work. We received no new/outstanding comments since November.


For next steps, Missy will compile the agreed upon tactics. Officers will agree to the compiled list. Executive Committee will receive the list, approve, and assign roles/responsibilities for teams and leaders by the end of February. Ultimately, we will communicate what we work on now into the future with Atlanta meeting participants.



  • Shutdown—NIFA has been affected by the partial shutdown and there is no work taking place.
  • Move / Relocation Information—NIFA office may move for political reasons. Casey will keep us updated about this.
  • Relevancy reviewers—Always potentially needed please continue to have potential relevancy reviewers contact Tom Bewick @ NIFA (TBEWICK@nifa.usda.gov).
  • Listening Sessions—Casey received feedback from listening session coordinator Megan Haidet. Our efforts are being noticed and NICH was applauded for the coordinated effort.


Committee Updates (new, Emergent Info to Share)


-Economic (Debbie)

  • Is the committee able to investigate and explain the discrepancy between NICH and NGA RE: value of consumer hort (see meeting minutes October 30)?
  • Debbie shared an informative email message on this topic that Missy will include with the meeting notes.


-Environmental (Gail)

Made progress on the current project which is releasing a second set of infographics for ‘#PlantsDoThat‘. Have submitted text for multiple infographics to Jennifer Gray. Angela Palmer has written a press release for one and prepping two additional. After complete infographic series the team is looking for their next project. May present at ASHS but not sure yet.

-Community Health Benefits (Pam)


oWhere do we update on recruitmentwebsite? Here?

Part of the strategy for internal engagement is to work through the process of getting extension MG state coordinators engaged (from there, county coordinators, faculty and eventually volunteers). Have requested an update on the landing page on NICH website. Request Marketing Committee please create a statement at the top of the landing page to show what happens when people join. We also need this committee and Marketing Committee to determine what happens once someone signs up. Do we give them options? What do we as an executive committee want to do to engage them? Alternatively, do we want to give them some updates and ask for their general support? Community Health Benefits Committee will send regular “Did you Know” messages (every other week) to NICH listserv to support better engagement. The Committee requests an email template for these communications. What does that email say? Ideally, the committee would like all this to go live by end of the month; however, understanding that this may not be possible because of shifts in the Marketing Committee.

Mary Kay doesn’t feel ready to task people who sign up on the website. We need more time and discussion about whether people who sign up need individualized messagesresponses. Community Health Benefits group also feels we are not ready to task people who sign up. Current focus is to have regular contact with listserv—support internal engagement. Eventually, Sheri Dorn on the committee will work on external engagement. 

Executive Committee is very supportive of the bi-weekly communications. Collective agreement we are still in a gleaning phase—want to get people/contacts. They need to hear from us consistently (every other week ‘did you know’ is a great engagement tool). As we grow, we’ll work to tailor communications to the interests and needs of our supporters. In a unification effort. ‘Did you know’ will be egalitarian—interest to all (environmental, economic, community & health benefits).

-Marketing (Mary Kay)

Hoping committee will meet in about two weeks. Committee will talk about exploring listening sessions and compiling a media list. Mason will share a list of trade publications and editors with the Marketing Committee. Susan Yoder may have that information. Sylvia will share target list of trade publications. Suzi is sending a flash drive of all relevant materials and documents for the Marketing Committee. Request that all outreach flows through the Marketing Committee to ensure the message and branding consistency. Will work to come up with a template for the ‘did you know’—if a template is being used and not manipulated then it will need no additional review. oInfographic and press release(s)
Committed to completing this and pushing forward. oUpcoming e-blast content?
Pam, Sylvia and Mary Kay will touch base about this. oDo we have boots on the ground at MANTS? Who?
Mason is there. Lauren from Southern Nursery Association. Great opportunity to recruit people. At least two others from the Commercial Council are also attending. Mason intends to connect with them.


Council Updates (new, Emergent Info to Share)


-Commercial (Mason)

Trade show season is upon us. On last call, discussed how we can combat seasonality. We have products and services we get out year-round; how do we communicate this to our clientele? Going to dive into this further on a future call to brainstorm possible solutions. Mid-February for next call.


-Non-Profit (Shannon)



-Academic/LGU (Rick)



New Business


-Year-End Report

On agenda for next call!




  • Missy will compile tactics and share with officers.
  • Marketing Committee please create a statement at the top of the NICH landing page to show what happens when people join.
  • Community Health Benefits and Marketing Committees will discuss what happens once someone signs up to be a part of NICH.
  • Marketing Committee will create an email template for ‘Did you Know’ messages.
  • Mason will share a list of trade publications and editors with the Marketing Committee.
  • Sylvia will share target list of trade publications with the Marketing Committee.