June 27th Conference Call

Attending: Ellen, Debbie, Clint, Suzi, Shannon, and Tom

1) Officer Updates

a. USDA-NIFA Grant (Ellen)

i. Should start July 28: We will have one year from July 28 to expend the funds; grant funds will be deposited with UGA, and they will pay the bills.

ii. The first meeting of the planning committee will be Friday at 10 (Bauske, Bennett, Bradley, Durham, Hamrick, Pugliese, Sclar, Underwood): Topics for this first meeting will include date, location, and the possibility of piggy-backing on another event that NICH leadership will be attending.

b. Organizational Structure Perspectives (Council Membership)

i. Acting Secretary: Due to her other commitments, Gail has been obliged to step away from NICH temporarily, likely through September. We are looking for an acting Secretary who can fill in. To do: Ellen will send out a general call to the larger group including Committee and Council members.

ii. Review of Progress on Roles and Goals: Roles of officers and measures of success were reviewed.

1. Determining legal status for NICH continues to be an open item and needs to be addressed in 2017.

2. While a good framework for exists for information flow and archiving within the organization, the general feeling is that outward communication is falling short of our aspirations. Press releases and pro-active communications via listserv or e-blasts were cited as examples. It was recommended that we aim for a monthly e-blast.

3. We are making good progress towards a second national meeting.

4. Bi-weekly conference calls have been held consistently, although the consensus was that people are generally spread thin.

5. Organizational calendar thus far has been largely driven by events or grant deadlines.

6. Teams to achieve NICH goals have been formed, but expectations are perceived to be unclear and in need of more specifics.

7. Receiving the USDA-NIFA Grant represented a big step forward on our 2017 goal of pursuing funding for our NICH efforts; development of a business plan continues to be an open item to be addressed.

iii. Working with like-minded organizations ~ Association for Vertical Farming: It was recommended that the Association for Vertical Farming be invited to join the Non-Profit Council. To do: Shannon will extend an invitation to Penny McBride. A question was raised regarding the status of communications with Susan Yoder of Seed Your Future about the Non-Profit Council. Casey reports that she is willing to serve on the council but is not able to serve in a leadership role.

2) Marketing and Communications Committee Update (Suzi)

a. New Logo: The new NICH logo is now available. Several versions are available, as well as technical specs for reproduction. To do: Ellen will send the new logo out to the listserv.

b. Upcoming Presentations and infographic dissemination

i. Trade Journal Articles: Tabled.

ii. American Public Gardens Association Meeting Poster: The poster is available and includes the infographic as well as NICH Background and Goals. The style of the poster is tailored to poster sessions at scientific or professional meetings vs. general public.

iii. Pam asked about a booth at Cultivate: We will not have a booth at Cultivate but are scheduled for a 20-minute presentation on Sunday. Debbie, Pam, Suzi, and Clint plan to attend. It was suggested that if possible, sending out an e-blast prior to Cultivate would be good making people aware of the presentation. To do: Those attending will meet to strategize on the presentation and Suzi will prepare NICH business cards with the website, etc. for distribution to attendees (Ellen offered to underwrite the expense of the cards). An objective will be to get people to sign up and provide their e-mail addresses to build our distribution list for future survey work.

3) Committee Reports: Tabled.

4) From the Floor

a. Regarding roles and expectations of the teams

i. We need to reach out to industry and other constituents to broaden our base, see what they want, and understand their priorities. Surveys could do this and would help to determine gaps, priorities, and next steps. State associations could assist with survey work.

ii. The need to develop capacity within our field to go to Washington and speak with one voice was expressed. To do for all: Encourage participation in AmericanHort’s Advocacy and Leadership Summit in Washington, September 12-13 (participation may be limited to AmericanHort members).

iii. Further discussion was held regarding the Farm Bill and where we best fit. We understand there is no “new” money, so we need to identify people who have initiatives that are already rolling and seek to identify partnering opportunities. We will need specific asks to be successful.

iv. The general feeling was that we had developed a lot of assets and the initiative has a broad base of support — the challenge now is to get them organized.