May 2nd Conference Call

Attending: Gail, Margaret, Clint, Casey, Ellen, Tom, Susan Yoder, Shannon, Suzi, Debbie, Pam, Julie

1) AmericanHort (Casey)

a. Update on status with information efforts/September meeting: Casey & Suzi have had series of phone calls about relationship between AmericanHort and NICH

i. There is alignment between what AmericanHort and NICH are working to accomplish

ii. Tom Demaline nurseryman, current President of AmericanHort, participated in congressional listening session with growers,

b. May 16th Call/Meeting – Craig R. will be on our next call to discuss work of AmericanHort on Farm Bill priorities

i. Where can NICH provide support on the Farm Bill, and not overlap with what AmericanHort is doing, and vice versa

ii. How can our mar-com strategy support these overall efforts

iii. To Do: Develop a specific agenda for our May 16th meeting. Circulate questions for the meeting, to the group, so that we are prepared. Focus on opportunities for collaborations.

1. How can NICH help AmericanHort be successful?

2. Where can NICH have the most positive impact?

iv. Is our group most concerned with the SCRI portion of the Farm Bill? Or, other parts of the Farm Bill?

1. To Do: Debbie is going to pull a Farm Bill summary/primer for our group, in advance of May 16th meeting.

c. Rep. Kaptur (OH, 9th Congressional District): She is a ranking member on the appropriations committee. Casey will meet with Rep. Kaptur and her team as the Director of the APGA and the inaugural chair of NICH. They are focused on urban agriculture and associated benefits underserved audiences. They have received NICH’s #PlantsDoThat fact sheet.

i. Rep. Kaptur is also a strong supporter of Extension, person who

ii. Shannon had conversation with Senator Stabenow aid. Senator Stabenow is on the ag committee. Shannon will be reaching out to his office about support for the urban ag act, and the role that organizations such as DUG and NICH can play to support urban ag.

1. Urban ag act has many aspects that are beneficial to the horticultural industry.

2) Marketing and Communications (Suzi, Casey)

a. Approve Proposed Strategy distributed to group shortly before today’s meeting. (Appended to these notes).

i. Our focus is communicating to industry, and not to consumers

ii. Own our mission of prioritizing research in consumer hort, and show how we can increase demand for horticulture

iii. $196B number in Mar-Com Strategy comes from Charlie Hall’s 2014 research. Charlie serves as economist for AmericanHort ~ so the numbers that AmericanHort uses should be the same as this number.

iv. The Mar-Com Strategy is an internally-facing document.

v. One key goal is to develop a robust email list, so that we can communicate with our audience, directly.

vi. Decisions Made: Vote on Mar-Com Strategy: Ellen moved to accept the document. Clint seconded. Discussion ~ one small typo found and corrected [a stray ‘in’ crossed out from the 1st line of the 3rd paragraph ~ see appended document]. Vote advanced to accept the document, with minor corrections. Motion carried.

b. Coordinate Messaging 2017: Listserv and Eblast

i. Do we keep using the listserv? Listservs are common tools of universities, often because they are easy and free.

ii. E-blast offers opportunity for more attractive emails, but often comes with a cost.

iii. Should we pull names off of the current listserv, and form a new email distribution list?

iv. Decisions Made and To Do: We will stop using the listserv, in lieu of an e-blast. Casey’s organization will assist with pulling the names of the current listserv, building a new e-blast distribution list, and bearing the cost of the e-blast.

c. Upcoming Presentations and Articles

i. Garden Media Group email included #PlantsDoThat infographic

3) HRI (Debbie, Casey, Ellen)

a. TakeOverTuesday: on Facebook and Twitter, HRI is doing a takeover Tuesday, where they are focusing on different aspects of horticulture. Jennifer Grey proposed doing a takeover Tuesday focused on NICH. Date of NICH Takeover Tuesday currently not set, but Debbie will try to target a date in June.

i. To Do: Debbie is looking for folks to work with her on this project ~ need slides, story board. Ellen, Julie will work with Debbie. Suzi to be consulted, as needed.

1. 8-15 photos, captioned with 140 characters or less

b. HRI Proposal to fund Business Plan, other elements

i. HRI has partially funded two phases of Seed Your Future research: industry attitudes about horticulture and public attitudes about horticulture

ii. HRI prefers to fund projects with a research element, rather than organizational infrastructure

4) Website Reorganization (Casey, Ellen)

a. “Join us” link on the website used to refer folks to the listserv. Now it has a form that sends information to Casey’s email. Casey will channel emails to committee and council chairs, as appropriate.

i. To Do: Suzi will send Casey notes on the Join Us page webpage.

b. Coordinating other changes to the website: send webpage changes as a chunk, rather than piece by piece. The Slack site was set up so that folks could keep a running list of website changes, and so that Richie could respond, when needed.

5) Reports/Updates from Committees and Councils (Chairs or Designates)

a. Committees

i. Look for an email from the economic committee / Debbie

ii. Environmental committee / Julie meeting tomorrow

b. Councils

i. Shannon still looking for co-chair from non-profit council. Please send suggestions her way (nationally-oriented non-profit representative).



Establish the foundation to position NICH as the united front to stimulate economic growth in consumer horticulture and communicate to industry leaders and decision makers how NICH will benefit all sectors of consumer horticulture.


Our strategy is to create a unified voice to seek support for consumer horticulture research and extension from the specialty crop research initiative program in the 2018 USDA Farm Bill, to show how prioritizing research for plants, products, and studies will increase demand for consumer horticulture on a local, state and national level, and to demonstrate how this will stimulate the $196B yearly consumer horticulture industry.

We will also emphasize the need for funding of horticulture in other areas of the farm bill (ex: Title X) to increase in the demand for gardening across all segments of consumer horticulture.
We will communicate to everyone in the industry the value of consumer horticulture and promote how plants – from trees to flowers, edibles to houseplants – significantly contribute to a healthy life, healthy community, healthy economy, and healthy planet.

A key to our success is to build awareness and support from all segments of the consumer horticultural industry. By increasing communications that shows the critical importance of plants to people’s lives, we will help build and grow the industry’s financial health and long term viability.

We will build the case as to why our industry that creates more than 2 million jobs deserves a greater proportion of federal funding than previously observed. We will emphasize how this funding will help increase consumer horticulture, both indoors and out, to 90% of people gardening and growing plants by 2025, and in turn, stimulate economic growth and increase the value of consumer horticulture.

Another key is to ensure broad collaborations with all horticultural organizations and partners who have similar visions to grow our industry. We will target horticultural industry leaders; the top 100 growers, nurseries and retailers; national and state nursery and landscape association leadership; faculty and administration at colleges and universities; extension agents; horticultural non-profit leaders; public garden leaders; industry influencers; government policy makers; trade media; and all affiliated groups, such the League of Municipalities.

We will develop the tools for these groups to communicate with one voice their overwhelming support for NICH. We will communicate these messages through all NICH committees and councils via our list serve, email, personal connections, speaking engagements, and media outreach.

Key Target Markets

  • Hort Industry Influencers/Leaders
  • Top 100 nurseries, growers and garden retailers
  • Government policy makers – House and Senate Ag Committee, and Appropriations Committee
  • National and state nursery and landscape association leadership
  • College and university administration and faculty
  • Agricultural experiment stations and cooperative extension agents
  • Non-profits
  • Public gardens
  • Affiliated groups


  1. Define The Brand & Messaging
  2. Identify & Reach Key Influencers in Target Markets
  3. Promote & Drive Message in the Horticultural Industry
  4. Leverage Strategy Across All Committees/ Councils
    1. Committees generate priority objectives for research
    2. Councils communicate priorities and conduct information gathering sessions to provide

NICH brings together academia, government, industry and nonprofits to cultivate the growth and development of a healthy world through landscapes, gardens and plants – indoors and out. This unified voice promotes a passion and appreciation for plants to increases the value of and demand for gardening, from horticultural grants at universities to attendance at public gardens to foot traffic in garden centers. To find out more about NICH, visit