News & Press

American Horticultural Society Declines NOVA Parks Offer for River Farm

(March 1, 2021) – The American Horticultural Society board of directors has voted to decline a proposal submitted by NOVA Parks, the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, and their partners to purchase an option to acquire AHS’s headquarters property, River Farm, on the banks of the Potomac River.

AHS has listed the 25-acre property for sale so the proceeds could be used to further AHS’s national mission and programs and create a significant endowment to ensure its long-term financial future. “We deeply appreciate the interest of NOVA Parks in River Farm and their proposal to purchase an option on the property, which if exercised, would involve payments to AHS over several years. We deliberated carefully over the proposal and its terms and concluded that their offer as currently written simply does not meet AHS’s needs. So, with thanks to them for their interest, the board declined the offer,” noted AHS Board Chair Terry Hayes

The American Horticultural Society has made its national headquarters at River Farm for decades, according to Vice Chair of the Board, Bob Murray, and has realized that the future of the Society lies in expanding its national impact by selling River Farm, investing the proceeds in national programs and the endowment. River Farm remains on the market. The sale is being handled by real estate agent Sue Goodhart of Compass Real Estate Group in Alexandria, VA.

Bob Brackman, Interim Executive Director, noted that the COVID pandemic has been especially hard on AHS affecting its donors and staff, dramatically reducing many valued programs that were financially important to AHS, and reinforced the urgency of putting AHS on a solid, permanent financial foundation. Brackman added, “Once River Farm is sold, AHS will determine the best location for its headquarters to serve and build our national audience.”

The AHS Board will continue to review and consider offers. Board Chair Hayes reiterated that AHS’s strong preference is that the buyer of the property would maintain it for single use and not subdivide it and ideally continue to allow the public to access the property as much as possible. The Board welcomes further dialogue with NOVA Parks to the extent they are interested in submitting a different proposal.

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News & Press

You’re Invited: AHS Virtual Art Show & Sale

The American Horticultural Society’s Virtual Art Show and Sale is now open! Each year AHS’s River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, VA is fortunate to work with talented local artists who share their horticultural and nature-themed artwork at annual Art Shows and Open Houses throughout the year.

We are excited to host a Virtual Art Show this year so that anyone across the country can easily participate by making a purchase or a donation on our virtual platform. Browse a wide selection of garden and nature-themed art from our featured artists Nina Tisara, Nathan Leibowitz and Otari Shiuk.

The Virtual Art Show is open through June. A portion of all sales benefits the American Horticultural Society’s national programs and mission to share with all Americans the critical role of plants, gardens, and green spaces in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet.

View the Virtual Art Show and Sale

News & Press

Offers Now Being Received for Purchase of River Farm

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) is pleased to announce that it has officially begun receiving offers from prospective buyers interested in purchasing the nonprofit’s historic property in Alexandria, Virginia. The pristine 27-acre River Farm was placed on the market in late 2020, with AHS setting January 4, 2021, as the date it would begin to receive offers from interested parties. No formal deadline for offer submissions has been established.

River Farm is located on the banks of the Potomac River and was once part of George Washington’s original farmlands. The property includes open fields, beautiful gardens, sweeping views of the river, and a stately 1920’s manor house which has served as AHS’s headquarters since the 1970s.

The sale offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for a new steward to take ownership of River Farm.  River Farm is listed for $32.9 million by Sue Goodhart of The Goodhart Group, Compass Real Estate. The listing price is based on fair market rates and was set following a competitive analysis of other properties for sale in the area. The AHS board will carefully review all offers submitted and hopes to identify a suitable buyer in the next few months. The ideal buyer will be a nonprofit, organization, or individual dedicated to preserving and maintaining the property’s historic integrity.

“River Farm is indeed a unique and special property and we are thrilled to now be receiving offers from entities interested in owning both the property and its legacy,” said Terry Hayes, AHS Board Chair. “We have had great interest from a number of potential buyers and welcome all interested parties to submit their offers in the coming weeks.”

AHS, a national nonprofit dedicated to sharing the art and science of growing plants throughout the United States, plans to utilize funds from the sale to establish an endowment for their nearly 100-year-old organization, which has faced difficult economic challenges in recent years, including lost revenue in event rentals and AHS programming during the pandemic, and the costs of maintaining River Farm. An endowment will provide essential financial stability to the organization and allow it to continue and grow its programming across the country.

Watch this video of River Farm
Details on the listing are available HERE.
For inquiries, contact Sue Goodhart at sue@thegoodhartgroup.com or (703) 362-3221

 

News & Press

Setting the Record Straight About the Sale of River Farm

For nearly 100 years, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) has called Alexandria, Virginia home. Our national nonprofit, dedicated to sharing the art and science of growing plants throughout the country, was founded in Alexandria in 1922. In the early 1970s, we purchased and moved our headquarters to River Farm, former farmland that, centuries ago, was owned by George Washington. We feel privileged to be among the stewards who have owned and cared for this property. This past September, due to our organization’s financial challenges, we announced River Farm would be put up for sale.

Since that announcement, there have been widespread rumors and misstatements of fact which we feel compelled to correct.

Contrary to many recent reports and statements, our desire is to not sell River Farm for future subdivision or development, but rather for it to remain a single-use property, preferably with continued opportunities for public access and enjoyment going forward.

We would also like to clear up questions that have been raised about the existence of binding obligations connected to the generous donation from former AHS Board Member Enid Haupt, which allowed us to purchase River Farm for our headquarters. It was at her request, but not a requirement or condition of the donation, that the public could have free access to walk and explore the grounds of River Farm during regular operating hours. While we have found no documents that create an obligation, we have been happy to honor Ms. Haupt’s wishes and have welcomed the community to enjoy AHS’s River Farm grounds at no charge since we established our headquarters here nearly 50 years ago.

Our purpose in selling River Farm is to pay expenses and create an endowment for our long-term survival. Like many small nonprofits, AHS has struggled financially in recent years and the pandemic has all but stopped essential revenue streams needed to maintain our day-to-day operations and our mission-focused programming while also shouldering the tremendous maintenance costs for the early 20th Century homestead at River Farm and its 27 acres of land. These serious financial challenges, among others, led to our board’s decision this fall to sell River Farm. The funds raised will allow our nonprofit to create an endowment that will ensure our organization and our programs can continue indefinitely

We understand the uneasiness our neighbors feel not knowing what the sale may mean for River Farm.  Contrary to published reports, we have worked diligently to be as transparent as possible and to have an open constructive dialogue with community leaders. In fact, we have been in – and continue to have –  ongoing bi-weekly conversations with Mount Vernon District Supervisor Daniel G. Storck and Paul Gilbert of NOVA Parks, among others, who have been working to put together a purchase offer that could meet both AHS’s objectives and those of the community. We have voluntarily extended timelines and been flexible with other considerations to support these community efforts to protect centuries-old River Farm.

We in turn ask for the community to recognize and support our efforts to protect our century-old, Alexandria-born nonprofit as we strive to keep our national mission alive for the next 100 years.

 

 

 

Terry Hayes, Board Chair
American Horticultural Society

 

News & Press

AHS Cosponsors Webinars with New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL)

The AHS is pleased to announce we’ve joined with New Directions in the American Landscape (NDAL) to cosponsor “Ecology-Based Landscapes,” a series of virtual educational programs that runs from January to March 2021. Developed by award-winning landscape designer and NDAL founder Larry Weaner, the series is organized in categories geared toward two audience groups: 1) landscape practitioners (landscape architects and designers, restoration ecologists, and horticulturists) and 2) home gardeners, educators, youth, and prospective professionals.

Topics to be covered range from natural landscape design and management to green roofs and gardens, community-based landscapes, the use of seed in native landscape and restoration projects, creating biodiverse schoolyards, and fostering native habitats in home gardens. Professional and non-professional audiences alike will be eager to join the room — virtually, of course — as Weaner interviews influential designers such as Piet Oudolf and Darrel Morrison one-on-one in “Prairie-side Chats” —NDAL’s version of fireside chats.

For registration and information, visit ndal.org.

News & Press

The January/February 2021 issue of The American Gardener magazine will be Digital Only

The January/February 2021 issue of The American Gardener magazine will not be mailed to members but will be available via our digital magazine platform. This cost-saving measure, necessitated by revenue losses resulting from the pandemic, dovetails with the AHS’s goal of environmental sustainability by saving paper, ink, and the fuel used in shipping those magazines to homes around the country. Regular mailing of the printed copy of the magazine will resume with the March/April 2021 issue.

If you are a current member and have not previously accessed the online version of the magazine, you will simply need to create a username and password if you have not done so already. If you cannot remember, try resetting your password first.

If you create a new username and password, you will receive an automated email that tells you it may take up to two business days for us to link your username with your membership. If you do not receive this email, check your spam or clutter folders. If you still need help, contact membership@ahsgardening.org, there may have been a typo when you entered your email address.

If you create a new username and password but you already had one in our system, you will get an email back within two business days telling you the username that you previously created with a prompt to help you reset your password if needed.

Once you have successfully logged in, you will see a screen that says My AHS Homepage. Simply scroll down to the paragraph that begins Because you are a member and the first item you will see is accessing The American Gardener magazine archives. If you do not see this paragraph, it means your username is not connected to your membership, please email membership@ahsgardening.org for assistance.

Happy Reading!

News & Press

AHS moving in exciting new direction

 

October 20, 2020

Dear AHS Community,

Last month, the board of the American Horticultural Society shared with you that we were exploring the possibility of merging with the American Public Gardens Association (APGA). Our goal has been to look at a variety of possibilities and identify the best solution that would allow for the continuation of our national programming during very difficult financial circumstances for AHS. The solution has had to be proactive, deliberate, and dramatic in the face of the pandemic and its effects on our revenue streams.

We have greatly appreciated your outreach and input, which the AHS board has heard and taken to heart. The resounding sentiment has been that we are proud of AHS’s century long legacy and greatly desire to find a solution that allows our mission – and the AHS name – to live on in the future with an increased national presence.  Our mission demands that we seek opportunities which expand geographic accessibility and programs that resonate with diverse communities across the United States from Alaska to Florida and from Maine to Hawaii.

With that in mind, rather than moving forward with a merger with APGA, our board has committed to maintaining AHS as an independent national nonprofit with its own board, staff and headquarters. The board is now working diligently to further develop a sustainable business model that would allow AHS to streamline expenses and continue operating as an independent national nonprofit organization for the next 100 years. The charge is to develop a model that would allow the varied programming and resources that our members across the United States know and enjoy to continue while adding new programming to keep AHS relevant and help it make a connection between people and plants. As part of this new model, we are focused on building collaborative relationships with APGA and other like-minded organizations who have a shared interest in building and expanding horticultural programming and other initiatives across the country.

In order to move forward with this renewed vision, we are dependent on the proceeds from the sale of River Farm. These funds would create a significant endowment that has been the missing link in our financial viability. Our hope is to find a buyer – a new steward – for River Farm who will work to preserve this beautiful and historic property.

Thank you for your past support which has been invaluable to AHS.  Your continued support and input is important and graciously received as we move in this exciting new direction.

Warmly,

 

 

 

 

Terry Hayes, Board Chair
American Horticultural Society

News & Press

AHS Public Statement

American Horticultural Society Explores Options for Future

For nearly a century, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) has served as one of our nation’s premier gardening organizations, connecting people to nature, introducing children to plants, and sharing earth-friendly and sustainable gardening practices. Our vision remains focused on highlighting the critical role plants, gardens, and green spaces play in creating healthy, livable communities and a sustainable planet.

Today we find ourselves at a critical crossroad. Financial challenges on a number of fronts, greatly magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, require us to carefully explore options for how the AHS mission can continue to live on for the next 100 years, and beyond.

A committee made up of several AHS board members is exploring opportunities. One possibility is a merger of AHS with the American Public Gardens Association

To accomplish this, AHS would sell our 25-acre property and home to our headquarters, River Farm. Proceeds from the sale of River Farm coupled with other AHS assets would provide for the continuation of AHS as part of APGA by supporting an enhanced range of gardening and sustainability programs long into the future.

It is important to the AHS board that, should River Farm be sold, the buyer would be one who respects the surrounding neighborhoods as well as the conservation and historical value of the property.

During this time, AHS and River Farm will continue operations and ongoing programs following COVID-19 health guidelines and respecting the safety of staff, volunteers, and members

Our goal is that the mission and name of the American Horticultural Society lives on, long into the future. The AHS Board of Directors will have greater clarity about viable next steps in the coming weeks and months.

For questions please contact us via email at Community@AHSGardening.org.

News & Press

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Great American Gardener Awards

Once a year, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) solicits nominations from the general public for the nation’s top individuals and organizations in gardening/horticulture, and presents awards to the “Horticultural Champions” in a variety of categories. We’re proud to honor these Great American Gardeners.

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Great American Gardener Awards! Deadline to nominate is September 25, 2020.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to support an honoree or the awards program in general.

News & Press

Statement from the American Horticultural Society

 

 

The tragic death of George Floyd, and the heartbreaking stories of so many other Black Americans who have been victims of senseless violence, has been a call to action for all of us to participate in bringing about meaningful societal changes.  The Board and Staff of the American Horticultural Society support efforts to end the chronic cycles of social injustice, systemic racism, and physical violence against Black people. As part of our foundational values, we believe gardening and nature-based experiences connect individuals within and across cultures, communities, and abilities, and in so doing advance human dignity, inclusiveness, and equity. We pledge to do our part by encouraging and facilitating participation in the world of horticulture across cultures and communities; making the settings and systems in which we work more open and inviting; speaking up whenever confronted by racism or bigotry; and putting into daily action the principles of equity, justice, and respect for all people—but particularly marginalized communities.