May 29th Conference Call

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH)

Bi-Weekly Tuesday Conference Call Minutes


Tuesday May 29, 2018

10am ET / 9am CT / 8am MT / 7am PT

Attending: Casey, Julie M., Rick, Tom U., Debbie, Ellen, Shannon, Gail

  1. Bylaws Task Force (Rick D.)
    1. Bylaws are essentially unchanged, in terms of content, from last version we viewed. There were some minor content changes.
    2. Motion to Approve the NICH Bylaws by Ellen. Seconded by Shannon.
    3. All on the call voted ‘yes’. Clint A. voted ‘yes’ by email. None on the call voted ‘no’. None abstained.
    4. Bylaws will be posted on the website, prior to our national meeting. Rick will change from draft form, will put date on the bylaws, and will get to Casey for signature.
  2. Committee Reports
    1. Economic – Debbie: working on an agenda for the committee meeting in Atlanta. There are five committee members plus Debbie, coming in ~ several attending on Thursday, as well.
    2. What committees need to do in preparation for meeting: Committee reports at National Meeting will be 10 minutes/committee, reviewing the work committee has been engaged in, in the context of the three big ideas (or ~ big ideas around these three areas). This sets the stage for breakout room work (see attached agenda).
  • Grow Consumer Horticulture
  • Build Unified Engagement Across Consumer Horticulture
  • Ensure Federal and/or State Funding
  1. Council Reports
    1. Non-Profit – Shannon: there has not been effectively a non-profit council for quite some time, since the question came up ‘should there be a non-profit council?’. Guidance needed on the need for or role of the non-profit council.
      1. Perhaps the non-profit could include a places where people garden in public group, including public gardens, community gardens, etc.
      2. Organizational structure of the non-profit council could be addressed during/right after the national meeting, when we see how people are grouping together.
  • One thing we can do is finalize our structure on Friday by 1pm, to get resolution on the non-profit council.
  1. Perhaps advocacy could be a part of the non-profit council
  1. Academic Council will be going to dinner together on Thursday night.
    1. Academic council is developing Extension-type publications that are in alignment with the #PlantsDoThat effort.
    2. Atlanta meeting will be a time to talk to Suzi and others to see how the efforts can go together. #PlantsDoThat seems more like an industry push, at the moment. Academic Council is looking at more of a public push.
  2. Brief Meeting Update (Ellen)
    1. Review Registrant List / Closing Registration: 65 people registered, to date. Only two more days to register.
      1. **Who is missing?
    2. Walk throughs, tomorrow. Check in with Paul P. who will be handling transport to botanical garden.
    3. Present Final Agenda (see attachment)
      1. Wednesday is the same as before
        1. Vision ice-breaker needs to be prepped (having your vision for NICH would be on your nametag)
        2. Mary Pat Matheson opening remarks. Casey will confirm that she is on, next week.
      2. Thursday
        1. Refreshments / breakfast available outside or in meeting room.
        2. Introductions will be rolling introductions, rather than formal introductions by Julie.
        3. With three big ideas, and three committees, we need to be careful not to be silo-ed in our work. One outcome of this national meeting might be to do things differently.
        4. Committee presentations should be done, showing how they support or are connected to the three big ideas.
        5. Validation of the three big ideas will come during breakout sessions.
        6. Research and Extension Objectives will be presented on Thursday, voted on Friday.
        7. Breakout sessions ~ divide people into rooms and at tables by where they come from (non-profit, academic, industry). Assignments will be on nametags. Facilitator will be in room to lead them through guiding questions. Will look at three ideas, and see how NICH can move forward with each one ~ 2-3 strategies (tactics) for each one. Julie M. is putting together instruction sheets for facilitators. Each room will come out with 3 strategic tactics that are their priorities. We’ll put those together, so that we’ll have 9 strategic tactics for ‘Growing Consumer Hort’ ~ and these will be voted on to prioritize work over the next year.
        8. Will someone be taking visual notes during the meeting? Visual notes work best.
        9. What is currently missing is validation of the three big ideas. More than big ideas, these are big themes, that we want big ideas around these themes.
        10. Need to: identify facilitators for each room. Julie W. volunteered to do one. Gail, Casey, Shannon, Rick, Ellen all willing to help facilitate. It’s nice if the facilitator does not have to be the person writing . . . so will be good to tag-team. Julie M. will be rotating through rooms.
        11. After lunch, Julie M. will have cards that can be filled out, how to remain engaged in NICH. Cards need to be filled out, to get a clicker to vote on NICH. Julie M. has the clicker system.
        12. Need to have something about succession in the open meeting.
        13. Need to check with Suzi and Debbie about rebranding of three big ideas as three big theme areas.
        14. Ice breaker at the botanical garden ~ give people a card with their reason for attending NICH. They can then trade their reason, or we can do it as a bingo card type game.
      3. What should we include as pre-meeting packet / meeting handouts?
        1. Bylaws
        2. Research and Extension strategic plan
  • A list of participants and affiliations
  1. Travel grant paperwork
  2. What else?


The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture

Date of Adoption: Pending vote of Executive Committee


TABLE of CONTENTS:                                                                                                                    












The organization shall be called the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture, hereinafter referred to as the Initiative or NICH.

While the scope of Consumer Horticulture is ever changing, the following provides an overview of many, but not all, activities related to this field:

  1. The cultivation, use, and enjoyment of plants, gardens, landscapes, and related horticultural items to the benefit of individuals, communities, and the environment. These activities rely on the understanding and application of the art and science of horticulture.
  2. Gardens encompass the growing of all plants; whether one or many, indoors or outdoors, and includes ornamentals, edibles, natives, or crops.
  3. Landscapes encompass the integration of the essential features of larger gardens with horticultural items to create artistic environments that are shared across the community.
  4. Horticultural-related items encompass the tools and technologies that benefit gardeners or promote a greater pleasure of gardening itself. These include garden sculpture, structures such as sheds, patios, hardscapes, tools, masonry, and water features such as ponds and fountains.
  5. The establishment and care of gardens and landscapes often requires services of arborists, turf grass care providers, landscape and nursery industry professionals, and others. This creates the need for a consumer knowledgeable about the cost and skills required to provide these services.
  6. Managed landscapes often provide ecosystem services to home owners and communities by helping to capture storm-water runoff, abate noise pollution, provide shade, reduce erosion, provide animal habitat, and other applications.

The Initiative shall derive all authority for its operations and administration directly from these Bylaws and from regulations adopted by the duly elected members of the NICH Executive Committee. The Initiative exists as a virtual organization containing no real property and no financial holdings.



The Mission of NICH is growing a healthy world through plants, gardens, and landscapes.

The Vision of NICH is to use stakeholder partnerships to increase the percentage of U.S. households participating in Consumer Horticulture to 90% by 2025.

The Core Values of NICH involve…

  1. Diversity and Inclusion – all welcomed and valued individuals can make a difference
  2. Service – for the common good
  3. Research, Education, and Extension/Engagement – for positive change
  4. Environmental, Social, and Economic Focus – address all aspects of sustainability
  5. Innovation and Creativity – for real world challenges
  6. Accountability – demonstrate the ownership necessary to achieve desired results
  7. Relevance – in responding to the needs of, and communicating with, our clientele



Being a member (members and stakeholders) in NICH is open and voluntary. Any person, professional or non-professional, engaged directly in or related to activities of Consumer Horticulture as described above, may participate in the Initiative.



The initiative is made up of an Executive Committee, goal-oriented Committees (Community Health and Well-Being, Economic, Environmental, and Marketing) as defined by the strategic plan, and stakeholder-oriented Councils (Academic/Government, Commercial and Non-Profit).

The Executive Committee shall be responsible for maintaining or amending the ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE of the Initiative. Initiative members or other persons affiliated with Consumer Horticulture may propose expansion of the goals or focus areas of existing Committees or Councils or propose the adoption of new Committees or Councils. This action shall be considered by the Executive Committee, who have the authority to approve/disapprove of the proposal outright. They may also seek input from existing Committees and Council members prior to their decision.



The Executive Committee of the Initiative shall be composed of officers (Executive Committee Chair, two Executive Committee Co-Chairs, and a Secretary) and Committee/Council Chairs or designees. Position descriptions for Executive Committee members are made available and revised periodically.

  1. The Executive Committee Chair shall be a voting member of the Executive Committee. Their vote shall ideally be conserved until after other votes are cast to either affirm the Committee’s direction, or break tie votes should there be a need to do so in matters other than elections.They shall attempt to preside at all Executive Committee meetings of the Initiative. The Chair shall have the power to call meetings of the Executive Committee and the duty of setting/approving the agenda for such meetings. The Chair shall perform other duties and exercise other initiative powers such as its signatory, but shall do so within the best interests of the Initiative and is expected to frequently consult/receive delegation/represent publically the collective decisions of the entire Executive Committee.
  2. Executive Committee Co-Chairs shall perform all the duties and shall have all the powers normally conferred upon the Chair in the Chair’s absence. They shall be a voting member of the Executive Committee during their term as Co-Chair. Additionally, Co-chairs shall perform such other duties and shall have such other authority as the Executive Committee may from time to time assign.
  3. The Secretary shall take minutes at all Executive Committee meetings and distribute minutes to the committee within one week of the meeting. The Secretary shall be a voting member of the Executive Committee and shall perform any other duties incident to the office of Secretary as assigned by the Executive Committee. If the Secretary is absent from any meetings, the Chair will appoint an alternate to take minutes. In addition, the secretary shall submit approved minutes for archival on the NICH website.
  4. Both Committee and Council Chairs provide leadership to their respective committees and councils and shall call regular meetings (ideally monthly) of their members. Committee/Council Chairs will maintain minutes of each meeting of their committee/council and report a summary to the Executive Committee. Committee/Council Chairs are full voting members of the Executive Committee and serve as liaisons between the Executive Committee and their respective committees/councils. In the event a Committee/Council Chair cannot attend an Executive Committee meeting, they will appoint a committee member to attend the meeting in their absence after consulting their membership.
  5. The Executive Committee shall work to create and maintain strategic plans for the Initiative. Plan progress will be reviewed and communicated to members at least once yearly. The Executive Committee has the power to make changes to the various goals, objectives, and tactics in order to further the Initiative’s priorities in pursuit of its Mission, Vision, and Values.
  6. The Executive Committee shall also invite prominent leaders in horticulture or other fields, such as the USDA/NIFA National Program Leader for Horticulture, to serve as non-voting liaisons and/or to advise/consult with the Executive Committee or other Committees/Councils for such time as the Executive Committee deems appropriate.




  1. The Executive Committee Chair shall be elected by the other standing members of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee Chair may be elected for two consecutive two-year terms and unlimited non-consecutive terms. While any person who has served the Initiative as a committee/council member or Chair for more than one year may be nominated for election to Executive Committee Chair, those with previous Executive Committee experience shall be encouraged for the Chair role. Nominations will typically be made by members of the Executive committee or by Initiative members-at-large should the Executive Committee fail to bring forward candidate(s) for election.
  2. The Executive Committee Co-Chairs (2 total) shall be elected by the other members of the Executive Committee. Any person who has served the Initiative as a committee/council member or Chair for more than one year may be nominated for election to Co-Chair. Nominations will typically be made by members of the Executive committee or by Initiative members-at-large. Executive Committee Co-Chairs may be elected for up to two consecutive two-year terms.
  3. The Executive Committee Secretary shall be elected by the other members of the Executive Committee. Any person who has been involved in the Initiative for more than one year may be nominated for election to Secretary and nominations are typically made by members of the Executive committee or by Initiative members-at-large. The Executive Committee Secretary may be elected for up to two consecutive two-year terms and unlimited non-consecutive terms.
  4. Committee and Council Chairs shall be elected by Committee and Council members who have been active over the past year in their respective Committee or Council. Nominations for Committee/Council Chair shall come from respective members of the Committee or Council and those nominated shall have been active in the Committee or Council for at least one year. Committee and Council Chairs may be elected for up to two consecutive two-year terms and unlimited non-consecutive terms.
  5. It is desirable for all Executive Committee members to reflect the diversity of the Initiative in their roles on the Executive Committee, and in their appointments to their Committees and/or Councils that they may Chair.
  6. In the event that any Officer or Council/Committee Chair is unable to fulfill their duties, a replacement will be elected by the Executive Committee to fill the remaining term of that office. Those serving on the Executive Committee are expected to attend at least 60% of Executive Committee meetings and keep informed on outcomes/decisions made whenever absent.



  1. Elections shall occur in November of each year and elected individuals serve from January 1 to December 31 of the following year (two year terms). Elections for unplanned Executive Committee vacancies shall be held within sixty (60) days from the last date the position was occupied.
  2. Election of Executive Committee Chair and one Co-Chair will occur in odd-numbered years and election of the other Co-Chair and Secretary will occur in even-numbered years.
  3. The Elections coordinator shall be the Executive Committee Co-Chair not currently standing for election.
  4. The electoral process and ballot shall be held by whatever method the elections coordinator (Executive Committee Co-Chair) running the election best deems appropriate (by electronic communication, proxy, survey, etc.)
  5. In the event of a tie vote, the Executive Committee Co-Chair running the election shall call for and preside over a deliberation meeting regarding the unresolved race, and administer a re-vote. This meeting shall occur within thirty (30) days of the tied vote. If the election of an officer remains tied after the meeting, the tie shall then be resolved by the flip of a coin.



During any meeting of the Executive Committee, the rules contained in ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER by Henry M. Robert, shall be used to guide the parliamentary practice of the Initiative.



Amendments to the bylaws may be recommended by the Executive Committee or proposed to the Executive Committee Chair in writing as a petition signed by no fewer than thirty (30) Executive and/or Committee Members.  The Chair shall inform the Executive Committee of such proposed amendments by electronic communication and/or other written communication along with a date to vote on changes with at least thirty (30) days to review them.

All proposed amendments shall become effective upon a two-thirds (2/3) or greater affirmative vote of Executive Committee Members. All returned ballots/votes received via electronic communication or other secure means within the period specified for voting will serve as the tally. Results of the vote shall be communicated within ten (10) days either electronically or otherwise in order to achieve prompt notification to all Executive Committee and/or petitioning members.


NICH Atlanta Meeting Agenda DRAFT 5.25.18

We will identify the priorities for Consumer Horticulture, including research, extension, and marketing priorities, that will guide our work over the next two years.

We will craft a plan to use these priorities to create a new value proposition for the consumer horticulture industry.

Wednesday, June 27

1:00 – 4:00 PM                        Committee and council meetings

5:00 PM                         Hotel Pickup

6:00 – 9:00 PM           Atlanta Botanical Garden

Mixer, Vision Ice Breaker and Garden Walk About

Opening Remarks, Casey Sclar, NICH Inaugural Executive Director,

Executive Director American Public Gardens Association

Welcome, Mary Pat Matheson, President and CEO, Atlanta Botanical



Thursday, June 27

7:00 – 8:00 AM                        Refreshments available in meeting room


8:00 – 8:05 AM                        Opening Remarks

Casey Sclar, NICH Inaugural Chair, Executive Director, American Public Gardens Association

  • Welcome
  • Other (Highlights of Wed night, Importance of multi-sector support for NICH, etc.)
  • The Charge: Identify 3 Big Ideas:
    • Grow Consumer Horticulture
    • Build Unified Engagement Across Consumer Horticulture
    • Ensure Federal and/or State Funding
  • Introduction of Julie Meehan, Facilitator
  • Introduction of Tom Bewick, USDA NIFA


8:05 – 8:20 AM           Uniting for the Future: Getting There from Here

Tom Bewick, USDA


8:20 – 8:25 AM                        Overview

Julie Meehan, Facilitator, Public Service Faculty, UGA

  • Thank you to Tom & Casey
  • Excited to be working with NICH…
  • Recap of Casey’s charge for the day
  • Have designed a process by which everybody’s voices will be heard
  • Overview of day
  • Introduce Debbie


8:25 – 8:50 AM                        The Why – why is NICH important?

Debbie Hamrick, NICH Economic Chair and Director of Specialty Crops, North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation

  • Why Remarks from ~ 10 attendees


8:50 – 9:00 AM                        The Who – who is NICH?

Suzi McCoy, NICH MarCom Chair, President, Garden Media Group

  • Overview of NICH mission & work to date
  • Introduce Ellen Bauske and Gail Langellotto


9:00 – 9:30 AM                        Presentation of Research & Extension Objectives/Priorities

Ellen Bauske, NICH Co-Chair and University of Georgia Center for Urban Ag/Dept. of Plant Pathology 

Gail Langellotto, NICH Secretary and Statewide Coordinator, Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener Program/Associate Professor of Horticulture, Oregon State University

  • Gail and Ellen to provide details
  • Introduce Pam, Debbie, and Julie W. to share committee work


9:30 – 10:00 AM        Committee Reports

  • Emphasize where certain committee activities intersect/support the 3 big ideas to date

(9:30 – 9:40) Healthy Communities Committee

Pam Bennett, Chair, Master Gardener Coordinator, Ohio State University


(9:40 – 9:50) Economic Committee

Debbie Hamrick, Director, Specialty Crops with the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation


(9:50 – 10:00) Environmental Committee

Julie Weisenhorn, Associate Extension Professor, University of Minnesota 


10:00 – 10:10 AM                   Overview of Breakout Room Work

                                    Julie Meehan, Facilitator

  • You have heard about the work that NICH – including many of you – have been engaged in over the past year. Now it’s time to look to the future.
  • We are going to break out into 3 rooms. Each of you have a number (1-3) and a letter (A, B, or C) on your name tag.  The number represents the room you will break out into and the letter represents the table you will sit at in that room.
  • In each breakout, you will have the opportunity to discuss/validate each of the 3 Big Ideas to identify strategic tactics so that NICH can move forward on each one:
    • Grow Consumer Horticulture
    • Build Unified Engagement Across Consumer Horticulture
    • Ensure Federal and/or State Funding
  • We will come back for lunch at noon – during lunch the ideas/strategies from each breakout room will be compiled together
  • We will vote/prioritize two-three strategic tactics that support each Big Idea
  • We will then break back up (you will get to choose which is the most compelling to you) and develop an action plan for how we will get this work done, especially for key tactics that yield the most benefit over the next year.


10:10 – 10:30 AM           Break & Move to First Session


10:30 AM – 12:00 PM              The What: Work on the 3 big ideas

  • Each room has a facilitator (Shannon, Rick, Ellen, Casey, Gail, Julie W., Tom U.) who will guide discussion, chart ideas, and serve as timekeeper
    • Could work in teams writing and facilitating
  • Each facilitator and each table will have “guiding questions”
  • Start with Big Idea #1: Grow Consumer Horticulture
  • What strategies should we use to Grow Consumer Horticulture – that is, how do we go about achieving this goal?
  • Allow each table to work for 15- 20 minutes to develop strategies
  • At the end of 15 minutes ask for each table to share their strategies
  • Chart these strategies on a flip chart
  • Ask the group to choose their top 3 strategies
  • Go on to Big Idea @2, etc.


12:00 – 12:15 PM         Move back to Main Room for Lunch


12:15 – 1:00 PM           Working lunch

  • Continue conversations over lunch
  • Self-selected tables
  • How do we keep people engaged in NICH? – cards for each individual to fill out at the table, to be turned in after lunch
  • Distribute clickers for voting when cards returned
  • [Tactical results prioritized/tabulated during lunch]


1:15 – 2:30 PM             Presentation of Possible Strategies for the 3 Big Ideas

Julie Meehan

  • Start with Big Idea #1
  • Display (up to) 9 strategies developed by breakouts (up to 3 each)
  • Use clicker to vote on what you think is most effective strategy
  • Repeat for Big Ideas #2 & 3
  • Once strategies are finalized, instruct to break until 3 and then move to break out rooms 1,2, or 3 depending on which goal area and strategies
  • Once in break out room, you will work on the “How” these strategies will be achieved, including first steps, who will do them, and by when


2:30 – 3:00 PM             Break and move to Breakout rooms    


3:00 – 3:50 PM             HOW – Action Planning in Breakouts

  • Participants choose, or are directed to area?
  • Identify what, who, by when of first steps for action
  • Julie to provide worksheet


3:50 – 4:05 PM             Move back to Plenary


4:05 – 4:30 PM             Report out of highlights from each group


4:30 – 4:45 PM             Wrap up

Casey Sclar

  • Next steps
  • Message takeaway
  • Invitation to Friday?
  • Invitation to cocktails & dinner options


6:00 – 7:00 PM           Cocktails Hilton Garden Inn


7:00 PM                         Group Dinners                       




Friday, June 29


6:00  –  8:00 AM         Breakfast – on your own


8:00 – 10:00 AM         NICH Executive Committee – Open Meeting

  • All welcome
  • Recap Wednesday
  • How 3 Big Ideas impact org structure (committees & councils)
  • Succession Planning
  • Action Steps
    • Create a report

10:00 – 10:30 AM       Break


10:30 – 12:00 PM       NICH Executive Session – Closed

  • Vote to accept/reject research priorities
  • Presentation of positional nominees