HERE FOR THE MEMBERS: We Want to Hear from YOU!

By Glenda Mostek, CNGA Executive Director

Glenda Mostek, CNGA Executive Director

Did 2020 and all of its challenges highlight areas where CNGA could help you more? Did a year of limited contact make our networking opportunities even more valuable? CNGA is a member-driven organization, and as such, we ask for input from you, the members, each year. This November, we will return to focusing on member input at our Horticulture Leadership Retreat, with a session dedicated to hearing from YOU about what YOU want and value most from CNGA. If you are attending the Retreat, please bring your opinions and share freely. If you aren’t able to come to the Retreat, we will be following up with a survey in early November.

CNGA always endeavors to change with the times. What was useful in the ‘80s, the ‘90s, or the 2000s may not be as useful to members now. I think you can see that in the way our certification program and publications have evolved. We have made our certification classes available online, and our main magazine has become an online publication. With the departure of Tanya Ishikawa, our editor of more than 10 years, we will take the opportunity to reassess our publications, both the eLeaf and the NewsLeaf that she spearheaded.

I would be remiss if I didn’t pause here to thank Tanya for her tireless efforts through the years to make our magazine a meaningful, well-written and edited publication. We thank her so much for all she has done for us, and wish her the best in her continuing endeavors. She made us look good, and was endlessly patient in reminding those of us who owed her articles of our deadlines.

Should we continue to publish an online magazine? Do you read it? Are you able to read it in the busy times of the year? Perhaps we should delay our issues to avoid the March to June timeframe – what do you think?

But we want to hear from you about the other things that CNGA does as well. We do a lot! Under the areas of Education, Certification, Advocacy, and Fellowship, we conduct numerous events and programs throughout the year, as well as working behind the scenes with lobbyists and AmericanHort to advocate for your businesses. We offer educational opportunities such as the Rocky Mountain Short Course (Fall Workshop) and marketing programs such as Plant Something and Grown N Colorado. This year, we premiered the “Fall Buyers Expo” to provide a buying show in the early autumn – we have listened to feedback from attendees and exhibitors and look forward to an even better event next year. The Young Horticulture Professionals are working with high schools to recruit students into our industry.

Our advocacy efforts were able to keep your businesses open during 2020, and to be declared essential, when so many had to close. This led to the best year, or years, of business in 2020 and 2021 that many nurseries and greenhouses had ever had. I hope our efforts were important to you. And, we continue to work with our other colleagues in agriculture on SB-087, which is creating new rules about overtime for agriculture workers. AmericanHort represents us on the national stage, lobbying for our interests in transportation, employment and taxation.

Does the Horticulture Leadership Retreat meet your needs? Do you like going up into the mountains to attend? Should we try to have it closer to home one year? Fort Collins? Estes Park? (Hotel prices sometimes have a profound effect on our location.) What do you want to learn at this event?

We reach out to you through the weekly eLeaf newsletter, the bimonthly NewsLeaf articles, our (seasonal) Safety Sense newsletter, and our Facebook page. Do you read these? Do you share them? Is the Safety newsletter useful in your safety meetings?

We gather together for fellowship and networking at our Industry Celebration, Member BBQs, Women in Horticulture Luncheon, and the Horticulture Leadership Retreat. Our CCNP and CGG certifications provide outstanding continuing education in the field, as well as the opportunities at ProGreen.

Which of these opportunities do you and your employees use? Why or why not? And, do you spread the word to your employees about these opportunities? Does everyone in your organization receive the eLeaf? If not, and if they have access to email, please let us know so they can receive communications.

I look forward to hearing your opinions about what you want YOUR organization to look like going forward. CNGA needs your voice, not just your dues, to ensure we are operating “for the benefit of all member firms” and that we sustain a strong and healthy organization.