Opinion: Letter to the Editor: River Farm

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: River Farm

Dear Terry Hayes and Members of the AHS Board;

As a member of the American Horticultural Society and a volunteer at River Farm, I need to express my concern over the recent actions of the board. In my experience, the recent emails from Terry Hayes to the volunteers and to the AHS members have been the only communication received by either regarding the board’s earthshaking decisions. While I appreciate the frankness expressed regarding the dire financial circumstances, especially given the ravages of the Coronavirus pandemic, I am appalled that the whole AHS organization has not been informed and drawn into the struggle. Such a crisis ought to be faced by the entire organization, and not be preempted by a board decision of such far-reaching impact!

I cannot account for this as anything other than a colossal failure of communication, and an indifference to the needs and desires of members, staff, and volunteers. Plus, having the former board chairman and vice chairman having an obvious conflict of interest in the initial decision to merge with APGA and sell River Farm to establish an endowment, makes the lack of communication all the more odious and suspect.

With new leadership of the board and the beginning of wider communication, I would like to suggest further transparency with members, staff and volunteers, and the opportunity to start the decision-making process over, with a wider range of options on the table, and ample time to consider all the possibilities. I feel strongly that all concerned would benefit greatly by that approach.

Lou Schuetze

Mount Vernon