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Membership Meeting Minutes for November 14, 2005

State Fair of Virginia, Conference Room

Present: Cary Gouldin, Jeff Miller, Lin Diacont, Mary Williams, Rick Baker, Lorene Blackwood, Dick Fisher, Sylvia Wright, Karen Kelly, Donna Johnson, Paul Hartzell and Bill Bonwell.

Presidents Report: Lin requested that members look for new funding avenues for the VGIC activities. He noted that he was working on an online reporting format for committees to post their reports prior to meetings and urged everyone to provide reports prior to the meetings to save time during the meeting.

Nominations for officers: A letter is to be sent to all participating organizations to solicit nominations for the slate of officers for 2006. Karen Kelly will present the slate of officers at the January Meeting. The next meeting will be held in conjunction with the VTC at the Richmond Marriott., January 9.

Jeff Miller, Executive Director’s Report – Jeff reported that two of the groups that he had made VGIC PowerPoint presentations to this past winter were still interested in the VGIC and were trying to get representatives lined up (MAC-ISA and VCTGA). A request had been sent out with the first VGIC electronic newsletter to request the different associations to send the VGIC their member mailing lists or to mail, email or include in their association newsletters info from the VGIC newsletter.

He suggested that the different groups should begin developing a plan for a joint economic survey of the green industry, by the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) through the VDACS office in Richmond, versus the current separate surveys which results in overlap between the groups resulting in skewed information. It was suggested to invite Kevin Barnes to the next VGIC meeting to discuss this possibility.

The VNLA provided consumer brochures ($1,000 plus value) to the Horticulture Pavilion during the State Fair under the name of the VGIC and made a donation to the Hanover Master Gardeners for handling the distribution to consumers. Bill Bonwell noted that they could have distributed about 25-30% more of the brochures.

VGIC News Releases to Non-Daily newspapers have reached 315,566 people since the initiation of the releases in October 2004. Jeff has requested the different associations represented by the VGIC to provide content and ideas for news releases from their segment of the industry. There has been no response so far.

Website usage is increasing. www.VirginiaGardening.com (consumer website) traffic has gone up 16% in the last year. www.VirginiaGreen.org traffic has gone up 41% in the last year. As with the news releases, the different VGIC members need to be providing Jeff with content and ideas for the websites, especially the consumer website.

Show Displays – Jeff presented several options for display units that could be used at consumer and industry trade shows to promote the VGIC. It was decided to develop smaller portable displays rather than a large traditional trade show booth display. The displays will be self-standing stands with 36-x7’ tall banners with info about the VGIC. It was agreed to proceed with five of these displays at an approximate cost of $375 each. They will be available the first of 2006 for the VTC Conference in Richmond.

Financial Report: See attachments for the financial balance sheet and current membership list. As of November 11, 2005, the VGIC had assets of $13,183. Total income to-date is $11,239 and expenses of $9,426.

On the expense side, the FSMIP Grant ends December 31.All outstanding bills should be submitted by that time. Greg Eaton is compiling the results for the survey. Rick will continue to look for other funding opportunities.

The VGIC will co-sponsor, with VNLA, a speaker, Tom West, at The Maymont

Committee Reports

Budget: Cary submitted the budget for 2006 and it was passed and also noted that the FSMIP was no longer available and that other funding sources were going to be needed in 2006 to maintain the positive momentum of VGIC. See attachment.

Communications, Public Relations, Sylvia Wright

bulletMarket membership at the Short Course to participants
bulletSolicit industry publications to publish our Newsletter
bulletHave a "click space" for the newsletter on our website
bulletSend Newsletter to industry leaders for additional members
bulletNewsletter is to be electronic only

Membership, Mary Williams: Committee will address other association participation i.e.

Ag in the Classroom
Farm Credit
Virginia Sod Growers
Virginia Farm Bureau
Virginia Turf grass Foundation
YMCA
Karen will contact CVLA

Legislation – Donna Johnson discussed potential legislative issues for 2006 and green industry concerns on proposed water withdrawal regulations.

State Fair Gardens : Lorene thanked the industry for the outstanding presentation in the Gardens. This area is the most visible of all the areas at the fair because it is at the main entrance gate. Gwynn Hubband and Carol Smallwood did a remarkable job in orchestrating the donations and installation. Thanks to the following companies for their generous donation of time, labor, and plant material.

Battlefield Farms
Smallwood’s
Bill Shook of Maryland Plants
Griffin Greenhouse & Nursery Supplies
Strange’s Florist and Greenhouses
Lancaster Farms
Bennett’s Creek Nursery
End Field Nursery
Riverbend Nursery
Hanover Farms
Driver Brothers Greenhouses
White’s Nursery & Greenhouses
Robertson & Son Landscaping
Colesville Nursery
Shipp & Wilson
Natural Art Landscaping
Greenleaf Gardens
Master Gardeners

The Master Gardeners, VGIC and State Fair staff worked the Plant Sale, Monday, October 3 and raised $3,845.00 for the VGIC.

New Business:

Rick Baker and Bill Bonwell are looking into the possibility of having a VGIC Green Expo fund raiser at the Lewis Ginter Fall Plant Sale, September 16, 2005. Lewis Ginter has confirmed that they will partner with us for the VGIC Green Expo. No rental fee will be charged. This is exciting and a great opportunity to showcase the Green Industry. Bring your thoughts and ideas to the next meeting.

Suggestions from the meeting of additional items that the VGIC could be doing are:

Prepare a website advertising package for the Winter shows

List members on the website and add the VGIC Newsletters to the website

Followup with members if they used the VGID newsletter and suggest additional ideas for the Newsletter

Each association list on it’s membership application an option to pay VGIC dues with their regular association membership dues. (The VNLA will have this on their 2006 dues invoices)

REMINDER: Next Meeting is Monday, January 9, 2006, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Richmond Marriott.

Respectively submitted,

Lorene Blackwood

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