March 20th Conference Call

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH)
Bi-Weekly Tuesday Conference Call Minutes

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
10 am ET / 9 am CT / 8 am MT / 7 am PT

Attending: Casey, Pam, Gail, Debbie, Julie M., Shannon, Ellen, Suzi

Committee Updates (20 min)

  1. Community Health and Well-Being – Pam
    1. 130 responses received: education was a strong theme throughout the responses received. For results, see Appendix 1 with meeting minutes.
    2. They have completed the literature review. They compiled the lit review and ASHS workshop into a manuscript submitted to HortTech
    3. Would like to have three things:
      1. First: a toolbox of resources to develop a grassroots campaign to introduce NICH and raise awareness. The toolkit would include infographics, data. Example of how it would work: at the end of every workshop, she would have data to give to the audience.
      2. ***Second: they would like to develop a train the trainer curriculum that Extension educators could use to train Master Gardener volunteers to go out and share this information with the community. They will also need to evaluate the curriculum to show the impact of what they will be doing, and are working with Sheri Dorn to get an evaluation from Georgia.
        1. This item is the highest priority for the committee. They would like a go-ahead to start working on the curriculum and want the supporting pieces (toolbox, social media) so that the power points, etc. have a standard look. Ellen made the motion. Motion passed.
        2. Ellen notes that the committee should think about the budget needed to roll this out, nationally
      3. Third: social media campaign: structured, scheduled posts. Would use Extension educators across the country who are already doing social media, to put NICH into their posts.
        1. Suzi notes that we need to have a social media campaign that hits across all of NICH
        2. Casey notes that the social media campaign should have a broad base involved: Extension educators, non-profits, industry, volunteers, the general public, etc.
        3. To Do: Casey and Suzi will talk about the social media campaign, offline (with Marketing Committee)
    4. Debbie notes that this is an excellent opportunity to engage others in our work ~ so who are the industry players who could be involved.

Stakeholder outreach, messaging, and communications (15 min)

  1. Seed Your Future Update- Casey
    1. Positioning themselves to reach out to middle school audiences, where 0% of middle schools know what horticulture is: website
    2. They also have a microsite with, which has information for educators: literature to 15k middle school science teachers; bloom board game to 3k middle school science teachers
    3. What they are doing is a wonderful complement to what we are doing.
    4. Emergent Facebook Group for Young Hort Professionals: post on the national collegiate landscape competition and response to local news anchor
  2. SCRI/Farm Bill Advocacy – Casey
    1. As part of Seed Your Future, Casey has had several meetings with Sen. Bob Casey’s (PA) team.
    2. Casey shared NICH marketing materials and infographics with the team.
    3. They are willing to set up a meeting for us with the Senate Agriculture committee.
  3. Marketing and Messaging – Suzi
    1. Infographics and e-blast status: very successful campaign. Three have been launched. The fourth will be sent to the listserv, soon. Infographics are up on the website. Releases have been picked up by a few trade mags. Extension agents and retail nurseries are wanting the infographics. Four emails, four weeks in a row helped to gain exposure to the industry.
    2. To Do: Debbie and Suzi will talk offline about potential Cultivate session.
    3. Suzi put the releases out on Emergent and LinkdIn. Suzi is looking for folks to put things out on social media.
      1. Debbie, Suzi, Casey, Ellen, Pam to talk offline about Marketing/Social Media strategy
      2. Consistency is key when posting on social media.
    4. If we are going to have a toolbox, we should have a section on the website that says ‘toolbox.’
    5. Regarding emails, we have one more survey to get out: ranking of environmental objectives from the environmental committee. To Do: This should be the next email sent out, after the fourth infographic.
    6. Put the Marketing campaign on the national meeting.

NICH National Meeting – June 27-29, 2018 – Atlanta, GA (20 min)

  1. Meeting Agenda- Gail
    1. Gail, Julie M., and Ellen met to work on the national meeting agenda. We got through about half of the agenda and will work on the other half on Thursday.
    2. Made note that we need to include marketing and social media campaign on the agenda.
  2. Meeting Registration Update- Ellen
    1. So far, 26 tickets have been sold. 11 travel grants requested.
      We need to get our industry people signing up, now. So far, attendance is mostly us.
    2. We need to have a concrete agenda to share with stakeholders. We should have two agendas: a public agenda and an internal agenda with logistical details.
    3. We should get our hotel rooms, which will be reimbursed. This may be an issue for graduate students, who might not have the money to front a room.

Listserv emails

  • When in doubt, work directly with Lauren Garcia Chan at APGA to get email listserv out, and cc Casey.

Review Action Steps and Conclude:

  1. Debbie, Suzi, Casey, Ellen, Pam to talk offline about Marketing/Social Media strategy
  2. Ellen and Suzi to meet to send out a press release about the NICH National Meeting
  3. Environmental Committee Survey needs to be sent out via NICH listserv
  4. Get comments on Bylaws to Rick Durham, will review at April meeting.
  5. Get your stakeholders to register for the National meeting.