“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
“A plague [on all] your houses!” with apologies to Mercutio from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Act 3, scene 1
My amanuensis has sent field notes back to me of a meeting of leaders in this botanical industry. The gathering of minds had an intent to define a way through the shoals of troubled water in which we swim. There were sharp minds at council tables.
Two statements of purpose were attached to the gathering of horticultural tribes:
1. Provide a venue for leaders of the industry’s organizations and associations to share insights regarding the future of the industry and the opportunities and challenges that are likely to emerge as they work to support their members and constituents.
2. Initiate the first phase of an ongoing dialogue among these leaders to support their efforts to address and capitalize on these opportunities as they explore [what?] they may mean for the future of their organizations.
The foolscap newsprint was a image from my youth. These elephant folio sized sheets were the same that Ben Franklin would have used in his print shop.
This was a very heady agenda. A lot of work was initiated by the brief confederation of horticultural colonies. It was the first trumpet call to become a United Nation of Green.
Unlike the First and Second Continental Congresses, there were women present at the heart of this discussion. Wisdom AND beauty. Age and the enthusiasm of youth. Brilliance of mind and those still dazed by the glare from the noonday sun. And there were writers of well-turned phrases.
Sarah Woody Bibens was in a leadership capacity as Executive Director of the Western Landscape and Nursery Association
The reporter on site took special note of the ease with which the discussions were facilitated. I greatly respect the scientific method and the processes in place to develop a group dynamic. Dr. David Renz was the professor in charge. His degree is recognized and promoted by the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, The Henry W. Bloch School of Management, University of Missouri, Kansas City.
The good Doctor was praised for his professional and efficient staging of the Association Summit.
In the world of my youth, we could have used such well-studied and eminently qualified professionals. In my youth, I only had the wits with which I was born. Now we can rest more easily on the taller shoulders of those who write better sentences…or possess more credentials…or speak with louder voices.
As in my day of Quaker Meetings, this group’s consensus was reached after strenuous exercise and posturing. There was no argument. There also was no vote. The congressional leaders concurred to leave the observations in an unedited form.
Notes were taken, collected, and preserved. I am told that those in attendance wanted to, “build on this session’s info and take it forward.”
The delegates to this congress were urged: “DON’T WASTE THIS INPUT.” In future, it might be brought out and viewed through a darkened lens. But if it is not to be used immediately, how shall it not be wasted?
What proof can be drawn that this meeting occurred? What sound does a falling tree make if unheard by a passerby? When does a natural confederation cease to be a group of individuals and become an individual group?
This congress produced a set of Articles of Confederation. Analysed in their pieces, they have a disparate and almost desperate need to grasp the roots and promote a horticultural revolution. Again, Ben Franklin was there before us, “for if we don’t hang together, we shall–most assuredly–all hang separately…”
Truer words were never spoken. Or written. We shall see if they are a call to action.