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Minutes September 24, 2004 Meeting

The meeting was called to order on Friday, September 24, 2004 at 9:00 a.m. at the State Fair Offices, Richmond, VA by President Lin Diacont.

Presidents Comments: Lin discussed future meeting dates (November 15, 2004 at State Fair Office; January 10, 2005 at the Richmond Marriott). Future 2005 dates will be determined at the November meeting. He read a letter from the Virginia Agribusiness Council thanking the group for it’s participation in the VAC Food Festival.

Committee Meetings & Reports-What is expected: Lin discussed establishing a standard report format, which will be available online and members will have access to these reports before meetings which should help make the meetings more productive.

Executive Directors Report - Jeff Miller reported that he had emailed requests for input on several issues (sales tax and VT College of Agriculture survey) and only received a few responses, which results in the fact that he ends up expressing opinions for the entire green industry with very little input from members.

Websites: Lin requested that members send meeting information to the VGIC to help in coordination of scheduling of events by the green industry. The webpage  should be serving as an information clearinghouse for scheduling events. Everyone please send dates to Jeff for programs they have dates/schedules for.

Jeff provided a print out of the last 12 months of website activity for the and the Consumer website There is currently an extensive list of links to sources of information for the green industry including starting in business and regulatory resources. This section is in the process of being consolidated. Please review and send any links that would benefit members and others in the green industry.

Treasurers Report - Jeff presented the current Balance Sheet and Income and Expenses compared to last year. (Reports are attached)

FSMIP Grant – Rick Baker discussed the status of the grant expenditures and plans to use the available funds with an extension to August 2005 for the grant funds. Rick reported that he had been investigating the possibility of developing a VGIC syndicated newspaper column which could be distributed through the Virginia Press Association, as well as soliciting businesses to provide links from their websites the VGIC websites.

Committee Reports

Budget -  Cary Gouldin presented a draft Budget for 2005 and requested committees to review it and submit final request before the November 15 meeting. A list of current paid members was presented. It was suggested that association members be encouraged to list VGIC membership on their association dues notices as a option for their members to easily become members of the VGIC with one check.

Communications, Public Relations, Joyce Latimer, (absent) Jeff reported that he had discussed the use of Green Industry Newsletter to market VGIC with Joyce. Lin will check with Leading Edge.

Publications for a newsletter proposal to see what they could do to set the VGIC’s newsletter apart other newsletters.

News Releases – Jeff presented a list of news releases that have been, or will be, sent to non-daily newspapers this year (available online as MS Word documents at  and requested suggestions and info for additional news releases for 2005. He will be contracting with a clipping service to determine the actual use of the news releases and the insertion of key words to make it easier to track the release usage. Doug Hensel will check with Richmond Channel 12 TV about having a question/answer session utilizing the VGIC resources.

Membership, Mary Williams (absent) Lin reported that he had been working with Mary on a membership letter drive for which she had developed a draft format and had sent out to the VGIC for review.

Program and Education, Greg Eaton reported that the VGIC PowerPoint Presentation was almost finished and would be available at the next meeting.

Green Industry Day 2005 update: Lin reported that it would be best to plan on the first Expo for 2006 possibly at the new state fair site in Hanover. A budget needs to be developed and plans for events etc. Since it will be mostly target to consumers, we will need to plan interactive events and promote the environmental benefits of plants since one of the VGIC missions is to be “Champions of the Environment:.

Fall Jubilee – Lin announced that the VGIC would have an “Ask the Experts” booth at this event, similar to the successful one at the recent VAC Food Festival. There will also be an interactive project for the kids to make “dirt babies” (draw a face on a Styrofoam cup with markers, add potting soil and plant some seeds, probably rye grass, and have lids for them to take them home to grow their “babies”. VGIC consumer information will also be available. Contact Lin to volunteer to help with this project on Saturday, October 9.

 Legislative Issues

Invasive Species – Mary Williams is representing the green industry on the advisory committee to the Invasive Species Council.

Tax Preferences issues - A copy of the Virginia Agribusiness Council’s Potential 2005 State Legislation issues was distributed.

Drought, Water Policy, WP-TAC – The Virginia Agribusiness Council’s Katie Keyger is representing the green industry on the task force. Reports from the task force have been sent to the VGIC executive committee and are also available from the VGIC office.


State Fair Update - Lorene Blackwood reported that the new building replacing the Horticulture Pavilion greenhouse was up and being used at the fair this year (the greenhouse structure was saved for future use). Gwynn Hubbard and Carol Smallwood had done a extraordinary job soliciting and coordinating the installation of color plants at the State Fair Gardens at the fair. The plant sale will be on Monday, October 4, 9am – noon. Lorene requested suggestions for a theme for the 2005 Student Gardens Competition. There were more student entries this year with the theme of “Hidden Gardens, Hidden Places”.

Consumer Info at the State Fair: Jeff reported that the VNLA had provided consumer brochures along with VGIC info to Bill Bonwell, who is coordinating the display with the Hanover Master Gardeners under the VGIC banner.

Future VGIC displays at MANTS, the Virginia Beach Flower and Garden Show, Maymont Flower and Garden Show, Trees Virginia September event, the Capital Flower and Garden Show and other events was discussed.

VGIC Display – Jeff will work on getting updated photos for the VGIC display and check on prices for a new display unit.

MAC-ISA Meeting/Trade Show: Joel and Lin will see if the VGIC will be able to have a display at the meeting, Mary Williams has volunteered to staff the VGIC display.

Maymont 2005 – The VGIC will again be sponsoring a speaker at the Maymont Flower and Garden Show. The VGIC will be sponsoring Richard Nunnally (Saturday, February 26 at 10 a.m. speaking on Virginia Home Grown: Gardening with the Environment) and the VNLA will be sponsoring Dean Norton (Thursday, February 24, 1:30 p.m. speaking on “I once was cute and had hair, then I met boxwood and other stress-related plants”).

Arbor Day 2005 – Lin and Joel Koci will work on coordinating 2005 Arbor Day events. Lou Kobus is working with the VNLA to have the General Assembly change the designation of Arbor Day from the second Friday in April to the last Friday in April to coincide with National Arbor Day.

Speakers Bureau – Jeff reported that he had developed an Access database for the Speakers data and Michele Fletcher would be sending him the data to be entered and then the database would be made available on the VGIC website. Michele is still soliciting additional speakers to be listed in the database.

Other Old Business: None

New Business

Virginia Tech College of Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS) – Jeff reported on his representation of the green industry at a college/industry strategic planning session on Wednesday to improve on information exchange between the college and industry. A copy of the new Cooperative Extension Commonwealth Staffing Initiative “Building Prosperous Communities and Sustaining the Environment” was distributed.

Green Industry Education in Elementary, Middle and High Schools – Jeff reported on more inquires from teachers interested in including horticulture related subjects in their curriculum. He had also talked to Glen Anderson, Virginia Ag Education Coordinator in Richmond about have the different green industry certification programs available for high school students to help prepare them for certification by the industry. The VNLA is funding a graduate student through the HRAREC graduate program to develop lesson plans base on their Certified Horticulturist program.

Adjourn – The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m. to regroup at state fair to hear Governor Warner address industry at 3:00 p.m.

 VGIC Balance Sheet

 VGIC Income & Expenses



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