October 30th Conference Call

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH)
Executive Committee
Bi-Weekly Tuesday Conference Call
Tuesday October 30, 2018
10am ET / 9am CT / 8am MT / 7am PT


Attendees: Missy, Shannon, Suzi, Mason, Gail, Pam, Ellen
Expected Absent: Casey, Debbie, Tom, Rick

1. Strategic Tactics continued (Casey, Ellen)

Committee is systematically evaluating the tactics identified in Atlanta for each of three big ideas. Consumer horticulture tactics reviewed at previous meeting. At conclusion of review, committee will develop a 12-18 month plan of focused work (see July 24 meeting minutes).

Ensure Funding:

  • Proceed with first two bullet points and ask for input/a recommendation from economic committee on bullet #1.
  • Conduct economic data research “from seed to compost of the plant” to generate economic impact
    PRIORITY National Gardening Association just released a trends report. Discrepancy between NICH and NGA value of consumer horticulture. Discrepancy – NGA $47.8 billion, NICH $2 billion. Ask Economics Committee to investigate, explain the discrepancy, and make a recommendation on how to move forward. It may be determined that the best course of action is to seek an economic study. Ultimately, we have to have a number we can stand behind and communicate to decision makers.
  • Campaign to educate government decision makers & grant deciders
    PRIORITY NIFA Listening Sessions (presentation & written contributions); Industry Relevancy Reviewers.
  • Expand search for funds beyond state and federal sources
    BACKBURNER Two teams of thought exist here –
    (1) Identify an intern to look at funding opportunities such as the Bette Midler Foundation, Gloeckner Foundation and others. Other opportunities may be KickStarter, Barnraiser and others. Issues – would have to become another type of organization if taking in money, would need to have a purpose for funds raised.
    (2) Not asking for funding FROM the industry, asking for funding FOR the industry. Focus on federal funding sources by securing relevancy reviewers and participating in the NIFA Listening Sessions – federal investment to support research will support the industry. With a thriving industry, there will be an investment in endowed chairs and researchers to continue to expand on research to support the industry.
  • Be the clearinghouse of relevant funds and expertise
    BACKBURNER Not a huge bang for your buck here – need to influence the process by being a relevancy reviewer and letter writer as opposed to being a resource website. No staff to manage the ‘clearinghouse’ anyhow.
  • Foster a collaborative network to seek funding

2. New/Existing Partnerships


  • NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives initiative
    Goal is to get a template to industry partners and collaborators so they can easily participate in NIFA Listens. Pam and Ellen will draft a template ASAP (submissions due by November 30th). Suzi will draft a call to action to blast the template out to the listserve. Everyone on the committee will commit to reaching out to 10 people each to recruit a written submission.
  • Discuss written contributions
  • What are our key messages?
    “In your field, what is the most-needed breakthrough in science/technology that would advance your agricultural enterprise?”
  • Find a replacement for plastics.
    “When considering all of agriculture, what is the greatest challenge that should be addressed through NIFA’s research, education, and extension?”
  • Lack of sustainable/environmental conscious materials other than plastic.
    “What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address?”
  • Consumer horticulture programming/consumer horticulture research. Will use the already developed marketing definition for consumer horticulture.
  • Create a template

3. Committee Updates (new, Emergent Info to Share)

Economic (Debbie)

Community Health Benefits (Pam)

  • Letter to recruit extension state Master Gardener coordinators has been created (next step is extension educators) – Suzi will be reviewing the letter to make sure it is concise and clear.

Marketing (Suzi)

  • Branding Guideline sheet needs approval and commitment from all committees to use the Guideline. Missy put forward motion to approve the Branding Guideline; Debbie seconded; motion passes. Subcommittee has worked on the definition for consumer horticulture and a tagline. These will be shared “Connecting people and plants.” Committee is also working on the ‘big tent list’ and someone from Davey is creating an organized Excel database. Will work on talking points next. Definition of consumer hort will be shared in the near future.

4. Council Updates (new, Emergent Info to Share)

Non-Profit (Shannon)

  • Shannon trying to reach out to Jennifer Evans with Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation to recruit to the Council.

Academic/LGU (Rick)

  • The Academic Council continues to work on extension-type publications and our first overview pub is moving toward a final draft. Natalie Bumgarner, chair of the SCC-85 group, which also serves as the Academic Council, will be sending a draft of the first publication to Suzie McCoy soon. Natalie is also looking into how best to publish this through multiple state extension services simultaneously.

5. New Business

Committee desires to transition to Zoom.


  • Regarding the value of consumer horticulture, Debbie will ask Economics Committee to investigate, explain the discrepancy between NICH and NGA, and make a recommendation on how to move forward.
  • Pam and Ellen will draft a template for the NIFA Listening Session written contributions ASAP (submissions due by November 30th).
  • Suzi will draft a call to action to blast the NIFA Listening Session template out to the listserve.
  • Pam will share the recruitment letter to EMG with Suzi, Suzi will review and provide feedback.
  • Suzi will share the Marketing Committee’s definition of Consumer Horticulture when it is available.
  • Missy will suggest use of Zoom to Casey.