COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update: Today's Advocacy Actions
MNLA Members,
 
It’s been quite a week for all of us - and, I’m certain for you too! MNLA leadership and staff have heard and interacted with you; with other organizations in Minnesota and around the country; and of course, our government officials.  As we end the first week of a two-week Stay-at-Home order, please consider the following:

ADVOCACY UPDATES – TODAY’S ACTIONS
Today, April 3, 2020, MNLA staff had opportunity to speak directly with Governor Walz during a stakeholder meeting with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The topics of discussion with the Governor and the Governor's staff included that the Green Industry:

  1. Primarily works outdoors and can operate safely by implementing appropriate customer and operational social distancing as recommended by the CDC and MDH. Specific examples were included for both retail garden centers and crew-based businesses.
  2. Consists of perishable horticultural products that have a timeline and are an important component of the horticultural supply chain.
  3. Employs 42,000 workers in Minnesota, who if allowed to work in a safe manner, can reduce the impact on the current stress of the unemployment system.
  4. Provides essential agriculture, gardening, and home food production products and services to people throughout the state.
  5. Works to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans throughout the state by building and maintaining our outdoor living environment.

I was honored today to testify to a legislative working group that included distinguished presenters like Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari (you may have seen him last Sunday on "60 Minutes").

THANK YOU to everyone who has been reaching out to their legislators through the MNLA Legislative Action Center and otherwise. My testimony today was made possible in part because of your constructive advocacy on behalf of the Green Industry!

If you would like to contact your legislator directly (while also sending a copy to the governor’s office), you can do so by visiting the MNLA legislative action center where you can submit a request asking for garden center and landscape services to be deemed essential. This grassroots participation is an important step in helping officials understand the important role of the Green Industry. When writing, please remember to be as calm and reasonable as possible.

TWO NEW RESOURCES
In addition to the advocacy work which continues in full force, MNLA is working to provide resources that will be helpful to members during COVID-19. Below are two new resources that have been added to the MNLA COVID-19 web portal this week.

  1. Operating Safely During COVID-19
  2. Financial Assistance – Loans & Grants

If you know of a resource that would be helpful to Green Industry businesses, please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know at mnla@mnla.biz .

THIS WEEKEND
We are all under stress and living with uncertainty as we enter the weekend.  We also have friends, families, and other loved ones to appreciate and perhaps help us relax and recharge, just a little. Please remember that many people are sick or dying each day. Our Governor is under tremendous pressure to wade through all sorts of information to make decisions in the best interests of all of us.

That said, consider that we’ve actually spoken today with Governor Walz himself!  Governor Walz has acknowledged the requests we’ve made for his consideration.  We will continue work to discuss our positions with the Governor, the Commissioner of Agriculture, and our legislative representatives.

Take care and please continue to stay in touch.

Tim Malooly, Water in Motion
MNLA President
To join a conversation online with your Green Industry colleagues, request to join MNLA's "COVID-19 Conversations" Facebook group.