I picked up a trade magazine at the office yesterday. It was packed full of stories about record spring sales at garden centers and unprecedented questions from new and often first-time gardeners. Have you seen this where you are at? Maybe you are seeing for the first time neighbors out in their yard or flower pots on porches and patios. Maybe your children have asked how to care for a houseplant or two. I know I have spent more time this year in the Georgia soil, but maybe I am confusing the hours I have spent watering what I planted!
There is no doubt that we are experiencing a renewed and heightened interest in plants and gardening. Consumers are realizing the economic, environmental, community, and personal benefits that come from growing and tending plants, both indoors and out. In fact, we have a new UGA Extension publication, Consumer Horticulture: Connecting People and Plants, that offers a nice summary of these pervasive benefits.
This year’s pandemic and a shift in all things we consider normal has stimulated many questions about how and what we do with Georgia MGEVs. In 2019, the Georgia MGEV Program celebrated its 40th year. We are proud of the many accomplishments of the program, including the continual engagement of individuals as volunteers, the agents and program assistants who coordinate the programs locally, and the relationships with our many partners and stakeholders. We want to position the Georgia MGEV Program to support Extension programming to the fullest. It makes planning for our next 40 years pretty exciting!
Hence, the Georgia MGEV Program is undertaking a strategic planning project to direct and shape the program for the next 5 to 10 years. You can read more about the project and the planning team on our website.
We know that the first step in planning for the future is to listen to the present, observe the past, and anticipate the future. We also know that many individuals and organizations play a part in the future of the Georgia MGEV Program. Our strategic planning team has charted a considerable course over the next six months to engage the many stakeholders connected to our program. We will use technology as much as possible so that we can keep everyone healthy and safe during our listening process. We might even break out the good ol’ telephone if we need to make any clarifications!
The first step in the listening process is to hear from you! We are anxious to hear from our volunteer base. We have a lot of questions for you, so the survey that you receive will not be short. In fact, I anticipate it will take close to an hour to complete. Please do record this time in MGLOG under the new statewide project titled “2020 Statewide Strategic Planning.” I will send more details to each of you via email this week, with the survey link arriving next week.
Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this important project! Your voice is valuable for charting our future.
Stay well and hydrated out there in garden!