November 14th Conference Call

National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH)

Bi-Weekly Tuesday Conference Call Minutes

Tuesday November 14, 2017

10am ET / 9am CT / 8am MT / 7am PT

Attending: Pam, Clint, Julie, Casey, Julie, Debbie

1) Committee and Council Updates

a. Committees:

i. Community and Health Benefits Committee (Pam): Have been working on the lit review. Goal is to have lit review done by December. They will be working on summary of ASHS workshop for HortTech. Missy Gable will be joining the Community and Health Benefits committee. She attending the NIFA listening session, and provided reflection on the session. Terri James also joined the committee. The committee discussed modifying the objectives (see addendum). The modified objectives look good. It is important to keep diversity, inclusion, access a part of all that we do. Casey called for a vote of consent and detractors. All voted ‘yes’ on the modified objectives

1. To Do (Ellen/Pam): New objectives must be updated on the website. Pam will send the new objectives to Ellen. Ellen will get them updated on the website.

ii. Environmental (Julie): Julie is meeting with the university Hort Club, and may recruit new NICH members. She is working on a NICH article for the MG newsletter, to potentially recruit new NICH members and/or to encourage them to show support on the website. They are working on the lit review to support the interactive infographic. Julie has been looking at infographics, in general, to glean more about best practices. The infographic is one way to engage people and encouraging them to think about what they do. Lit review can be a hurdle: such a large project that requires large chunks of time. The topic is so huge. They are thinking of looking at what is missing from Extension information. Julie is writing up the environmental workshop portion from ASHS for Sheri Dorn.

2) Councils

a. Industry (Clint): Will get the economic survey out, to get better feedback from industry. Clint will touch base with Debbie on the economic survey.

3) NIFA listening sessions (Casey)

a. https://nifa.usda.gov/nifalistens

b. In-person sessions: we hit three out of four of the in-person listening sessions! All sessions have been recorded and posted, online. Perhaps we can edit them down and put them on the website? Listening session thoughts can go on next agenda.

c. Written Comments: accepted through December 1st . NIFA seems to be paying close attention to the written comments. They mentioned (in Greenbelt) that they have received about 500 comments, thus far.

i. Person who led the NIFA listening session has a strong plant ecology background, including commodity horticulture and is interested in what NICH is doing.

4) NICH Meeting Update (Ellen):

a. Will regroup in December, and start meeting planning efforts, again.

b. To Do (Casey): confirm Atlanta Botanical Garden for a reception.

c. We have funds to support travel to the meeting. As a group, we need to think about how we are going to do invites. We can’t roll out registration until we have a clear vision on how we’re going to use those funds.

d. To Do (Ellen): Need to get Save the Dates rolled out.

e. To Do (Ellen, Casey, Gail): schedule a side meeting to discuss travel costs and funds.

5) Recruitment, Placement, and Structure (Casey, All): we have some great people who are interested in getting involved in NICH. How do we find them a good place on NICH, that will leverage their expertise / move NICH forward? Are our committee and council rosters up to date, and where do we keep those rosters? What is on the website for the Executive Committee may need some updating.

a. Casey is making a charge to re-energize our committee structure, and update it. We need to discuss the role of the different councils, and who is on the different councils. Our committee structure, and particularly our council structure, has largely been organic.

b. Pam noted that she has two new committee members. Her plan is to get them started, and then within the next year, turn over committee chairmanship to the committee.

c. Succession planning for leadership is also important.

d. Who is pending placement and what tasks are needed?

e. Organizational Structure: Is SCC-85 the Academic Council?: Ideally, we would like to have some high powered people to be on this council. But, it may take ‘time in the trenches’ before we can attract their attention. The SCC-85 is meeting regularly and making good progress. It seems like it would make a good fit. Current members include Rick Durham, Natalie Bumgarner, Sheri Down. Rick and Natalie have been involved with NICH. The goal of SCC-85 is to support NICH efforts.

f. We also need to talk about advocacy with this group. Is our advocacy and government affairs being pooled with AmericanHort? If so, that would take advocacy off of this group.

i. Our visit to the recent NIFA listening sessions is an example of advocacy by our group. But, we are also included in the coalition of partners in AmericanHort’s efforts, such as with the Farm Bill.

ii. Should we consider separating academia from government in this council? Would it our group more flexibility? One set up is that we provide information that advocates need to do their work.

g. We need some more formal information about SCC and potential plans for government/industry council – and we need more folks on the call to make decisions.

6) What is our “Big Ask” from the Farm Bill? (Casey):

a. Clint proposed that we make this the focus of our agenda item for next meeting. Casey said that we will lead with this agenda item, next year.

b. We’re starting really late for the FY 2018 Farm Bill.

c. In case an opportunity emerges, we need to be organized and ready to provide input.

d. We need to have a strategy for reaching out the Specialty Crops Farm Bill Alliance.

e. We could open the discussion to talk about federal resources, such as research dollars.

f. To Do: Debbie will do some research to figure out what ask is from the Specialty Crops Farm Bill alliance, prior to our next meeting.

g. To Do: Gail, Casey, and Ellen will send their priority research and extension topics (from NIFA listening session) to Gail, so that they can be included in the notes. We can use the bullet points as a basis for discussion of Farm Bill priorities.

i. Casey’s Bullet Points

  • Urban Forest and Crop Biodiversity | Habitat Restoration
  • Food Systems and Security | Plant Biosecurity
  • Gene Conservation / Ex-situ Conservation Esp. of Rare, Threatened or Endangered Plants (Crop Wild Relatives)
  • Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Principles
  • Sustainable Horticulture and Occupational Techniques
  • Plant Science & Horticulture/Agriculture Careers
  • Urban Forest and Crop Biodiversity | Habitat Restoration
  • Food Systems and Security | Plant Biosecurity
  • Gene Conservation / Ex-situ Conservation Esp. of Rare, Threatened or Endangered Plants (Crop Wild Relatives)
  • Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Principles
  • Sustainable Horticulture and Occupational Techniques
  • Plant Science & Horticulture/Agriculture Careers

ii. Comments submitted in written form by Debbie for the Economic Committee and NC Farm Bureau

Question 1) What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension or education that NIFA should address?

My top research priority is a focus on consumer horticulture (CH). Home gardening, residential and commercial landscaping and urban land management drive the consumption of an array of specialty crops.  The sector known as consumer horticulture (CH) contributes more than $196 billion to the US economy. CH encompasses the cultivation, use, and enjoyment of plants, gardens, landscapes, and related horticultural items to the benefit of individuals, communities, and the environment. CH embraces public and private service industries, such as landscape design and maintenance, park maintenance, arboriculture, irrigation, public gardens and other services that have multi-faceted impacts on the economy, environment, and public health.

CH stakeholders are a diverse group.  They include direct consumers of specialty crops (e.g., community gardeners, home gardeners, homeowner associations, public gardens, non-profits, municipal stakeholders, schools, and hospitals) as well as CH industries that purchase and support the use of specialty crops.

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) has made an important positive impact on the production of commodities such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery crops and floriculture.  However, funding for CH projects has been absent. Of the 162 projects receiving SCRI funding from 2008 and 2015, all have focused on production.

Through the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH), a collation of academic, non-profit, extension and industry throughout the horticulture sector is developing core priorities to advance CH. Among them are:

  • Stimulate entrepreneurial opportunities in Consumer Horticulture.
  • Strengthen the adoption of Consumer Horticulture as an effective tool for improving human health and well-being.
  • Develop and promote sustainable practices specific to Consumer Horticulture.
  • Identify and implement the positive environmental impacts of Consumer Horticulture on water quantity and quality resources.
  • Identify and develop plants, products, and technology appropriate to the diversity of landscape and gardening practices to enhance ecosystem services.

Question 2)  What are the most promising scientific opportunities for advancement of food and agricultural sciences?

The most promising science opportunity is the inclusion of CH as an essential component of human life.

The social, environmental, financial/economic, health and well-being benefits associated with gardening, landscaping and managing landscapes is an area receiving increased focus as the United States continues to develop more land and urbanize. An increasing evidence base of the benefits of “green infrastructure,” those vegetated spaces serving man where we live, work, play and pray shows people benefit when plants are part of their lives. These benefits are being identified across multiple disciplines within, but primarily external to CH. The opportunity to validate, articulate and implement vegetated green infrastructure through CH offers society a path to creating living spaces where humans thrive.

CH research would support more than 2 million jobs at commercial businesses, retail operations, and consumer service providers.  When CH becomes engaged in validating the environmental impacts, sustainable practices and developing plant, products and technology benefits, people will benefit too from better health, wellness and happiness as well as lower costs to public utilities for climate modulation and stormwater management and a vibrant economic sector that touches just about every county in the nation.

iii. Ellen’s Bullet Points: have asked for them

iv. Missy’s Bullet Points: have asked for them

v. Gail’s Bullet Points: In increasingly urbanized landscapes – what role do consumer horticulture landscapes play in:

  • sourcing pollinators to nearby urban- or peri-urban farms?
  • providing refuge to pollinators from agricultural stresses?
  • building strong, urban food systems that are resilient?
  • connecting urban populations to agriculture?
  • Research efforts must be coupled with strong Extension & outreach.

7) Review Action Items

To Do (Ellen/Pam): New objectives must be updated on the website. Pam will send the new objectives to Ellen. Ellen will get them updated on the website.

To Do (Casey): confirm Atlanta Botanical Garden for a reception.

To Do (Ellen): Need to get Save the Dates rolled out.

To Do (Ellen, Casey, Gail): schedule a side meeting to discuss travel costs and funds.

Next Meeting: (11.28.17)

Addendum

Community and Social Benefits Committee Goals and Objectives

Our Goals: Cultivating Healthy, Connected and Engaged Communities

Our Objectives:

Educate the public on nutritional, physical, psychological and social health benefits associated with Consumer Horticulture

Provide policymakers with current scientific information that supports the social and community health, impacts of Consumer Horticulture

Strengthen the adoption of Consumer Horticulture in the U.S. as an effective tool for improving human health and community well-being across diverse populations.

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