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APPM History. Milestones

Margarita Valeryevna Akhmechet
Elena Ivanovna Sedova
Mikhail Vitalyevich Kachalkin
Olga Grigoryevna Talivanova

Viribus unitis

Professional associations are structures with transitional experience typical for standard schemes of the development of communities characterized by unique features as well. Their formation processes are subject to definite laws and have been studied by active professionals participating in the formation of such professional associations.

The Russian Nursery Stock Association is 10 years old. Basing on the facts yet not claiming to cite them completely we shall try to restore the history of the Association, which has become legendary.

There were a lot of talks about the creation of the professional association of the Russian nurserymen but not too much of that. What to begin with? How is it done and above all who and what is going to do that for? What is the benefit? These questions seemed to have no answers. 

Step 1. Idea Initialization

In March 2007 in the magazine "Landscape Architecture. Design" № 1 (the key topic of the issue was "The General Scheme of Moscow Greening") the articles on the problems and possibilities of the Russian and foreign nurseries were first published by E.I. Sedova, A.U. Sapelin, A.E. Sedov, I.A. Savvateeva, S.L. Chizhova, V.S. Teodoronsky; the first nursery map was printed in the issue as well.

The magazine's editors came up with the idea of discussing the announced urgent problems by professionals, the corresponding letters and invitations were spread between nurserymen, controlling authorities' representatives, design institutions and universities.

On April 13, 2007 in "Sokolniky" С enter the Round table "The Russian Nurseries: the Future and the Past" coordinated by O.G. Talivanova took place. 

The event was joined by over 50 participants caring about the future of the Russian nurseries: the directors of "Tyumen Garden Nursery" ("The Akhmechets’ Nursery"), "Garden Company "Sadko", "Nazarovo Nursery", "The Savvateevs' Nursery", "Leskovo" nursery, "Agricultural Company Modern Ornamental Nursery Agricultural Company", Ivanteevsky Forest Nursery, etс., the staff of "All-Russian Selection and Technology Institute for Gardening and Nurseries" (VSTISP), Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, Forest University (MGULesa), Moscow Architecture Committee (Moskomarchitektury), GlavAPU, State Seed Inspection of Russia (Gosseminspecciya Rossii), All-Russian Plant Carantine Center, etс.

The Russian nurseries' representatives - Margarita Akhmechet, Andrey Sedov, Elena Sedova, Aleksandr Smirnov ("Leskovo" nursery), Ludmila Skaly, Valery Mochalov and other participants - told the story of nurseries in Russia, spoke about the conservation of domestic plant gene pool and industry problems. At the Round table Margarita Akhmechet ("Tyumen Garden Nursery") offered uniting as a lot of nurseries faced the same problems and could solve them together much easier and more effectively than relying on state support. The idea of uniting was also discussed by Doctor in Agriculture, Chairman of Department of Ornamental Gardening of Timiryazev Agricultural Academy H.V. Sharafutdinov and the Director of "Nazarovo Nursery" V.M. Mochalov who told the rest about the associations from Poland and Germany. A hot discussion started between M.V. Akhmechet, the Director of the private «Tyumen Garden Nursery», and the representative of VSTISP promoting the idea of basic nurseries (the programme designed during the Soviet period when all nurseries were of state status). During the discussions it became obvious that the directive method didn't suit modern nurseries and something different was needed, something that would reform domestic nurseries and save the industry. After the Round table V.M. Mochalov offered M.V. Akhmechet to start working at the uniting of domestic nurseries and agreed to gather those interested in the autumn after the season finished. In October 2007 during the exhibition «Looking out of the House» M.V. Akhmechet agreed with V.M. Mochalov the time and location of the meeting fitting all, agreed with Andrey Sedov the meeting in «Sadko» nursery, invited Aleksandr Tolokonnikov, Aleksandr Bezmaternykh, Igor Chekunov to the meeting of the initiative group. This critical step catalyzed the Association's foundation process.

On October 18th, 2007 the meeting took place and started the foundation of APPM. The initiative group gathered on the territory of "Sadko" nursery and involved Margarita and Boris Akhmechet ("Tyumen Garden Nursery"), Valery Mochalov ("Nazarovo Nursery"), Igor Chekunov ("Poisk Agricultural Firm"), Aleksandr Tolokonnikov (LMAT), Aleksandr Bezmaternykh ("Flower City"), Dmitry Zvonka ("Zaokskye Nurseries") and hospitable hosts Andrey Sedov, Elena Sedova, Mikhail Molkov ("Garden Company "Sadko"). Mikhail Kachalkin ("Experiment and Selection Nursery") took active part in the event by phone.

The proper "genetics" was formed initially and let the unique association of like-minded people appear. To our mind, by intuition there came the correct approach to the association's creation: the starting point was the emotional heart motif of the initiative people offering nurserymen unite as equals, basing on the ideas of direct participation and total openness.

The key target of the uniting was conservation and development of the Russian nurseries, experience exchange, not just formal joining another formal club. All to whom in could concern were to be informed about that. The initiative group members used their personal contacts to spread the word, moreover, Aleksandr Bezmaternykh posted a questionnaire on Gardener web-site and Infosad web-site to create a unified database to gather as many interested professionals as possible.

On November 27th, 2007 the second meeting took place in the garden center of Aleksandr Bezmaternykh in the town of Pirogovsky. In addition to the first meeting's participants Irina Savvateeva and Aleksandr Savvateev ("The Savvateevs' Nursery"), Tatyana Trembovelskaya ("Vashutino" nursery), Sergey Nikitenko ("Nikitenko" nursery) arrived. The initiative group of 8 was formed and the preparation of the Constitutive Conference was agreed. Irina Savvateeva offered inviting Vladimir Razumovsky as the president of the All-Ukrainian Spilka, the brand new All-Ukrainian Nursery Stock Association, to share his experience at the Conference.

All the costs of the organization of the Constitutive Conference were covered by the nurseries belonging to the initiative group. Great event’s preparation work was carried out by "Garden Company "Sadko" (Elena Sedova), "Flower City" (Aleksandr Bezmaternykh), "Nazarovo Nursery" (Valery Mochalov) as they were neighbours and located close to the Conference venue. Nevertheless the organizers were not sure of the Conference success at all.

Step 2. Foundation

On March 15–16th, 2008 the Constitutive APPM Conference took place in Moscow suburban Resort Hotel "Levkovo"

The hall was full; there were about 100 people from 30 regions of Russia. It inspired and filled all with hope and optimism and proved the necessity and timeliness of creation of such a professional association. "There was a run of speakers, the event had been obviously expected, it was like fresh air, all were filled with the joy of the uniting of such a big number of dedicated interesting people. We all created history together, our own history, each one invested part of his spirit, mind and heart into this project, that's how our Association was born!" (M.V. Akhmechet)

The participants of the Conference made a decision concerning the foundation of the Russian Nursery Stock Association, discussed the targets and objectives of the Association, adopted the project of the Statue, appointed the founders to register the public organisation legally.

In autumn 2008 the procedure of the registration of the Russian Nursery Stock Association (APPM) started.

In March 2009 II APPM Conference took place. At the Conference the governing bodies of the Association were elected, the annual work plan was adopted for 2009, the first applications to join the Association were collected. V.V. Stepanov, General Director of SPU "Garden and City" significantly supported the event financially, acting as the general sponsor of the Conference.

The first APPM Governing Board included M.V. Akhmechet («Tyumen Garden Nursery»), A.E.Sedov ("Garden Company "Sadko"), A.V. Bezmaternykh ("Flower City"), M.V. Kachalkin ("Experiment And Selection Nursery"), V.M. Mochalov ("Nazarovo Nursery"), I.A. Savvateeva ("The Savvateevs' Nursery"), S.V. Tsivyna ("TIS’S-RUZA" nursery), А . А . Tolokonnikov (LMAT), V.N. Razumovsky ("Ornamental Plant Factory").

The first elected APPM Chairman was А . Е . Sedov, the Executive Director was A.V. Bezmaternykh.

APPM was provided with the legal address by "Agricultural Firm "Flos".

In June 2009 state registration of the Russian Nursery Stock Association was completed.

In 2009 first nursery Open-door Days took place in APPM nurseries: "Ornamental Plant Factory", Aleksin nursery "Gavrish", "Zaokskye Nurseries", "The Savvateevs' Nursery", "Flower City". At "Flowers-2009" Exhibition at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VVTs) the first APPM's collective stand worked; the Association's presentation came as part of the Exhibition business programme.

In 2009 APPM was joined by:

"Garden Company "Sadko" LLC, Moscow region

" Flower City" LLC, Moscow region

"Nazarovo Nursery" LLC, Moscow region

"The Savvateevs' Nursery" Moscow region

"Tyumen Garden Nursery" PH LLC, Tyumen region

"Experiment and Selection Nursery" LLC, Tula region

S.S. Nikitenko PH, Moscow region

"Plant World" LLC, Samara region

A.V. Romakhov PH/"Yoly-paly" nursery, Samara region

A.N. Miroleeva IE/"Gardens of the Urals" nursery, Sverdlovsk region

"TIS’S-RUZA" CJSC, Moscow region

Architecture and Landscaping Centre "Archiland" LLC, Nizhny Novgorod region

"Scientific and Production Union «Fruit and Vegetable Gardens" LLC, Chelyabinsk region

"Agro" LLC, Moscow region

"Zalessky Nursery" LLC, Kaliningrad region

"Fittoniya Firm"/"Vashutino nursery", LLC, Moscow region

"Kutepovo" Garden Nursery» LLC, Tula region

"Rostok Agricultural Firm LLC", Belgorod region

"Green World" Agricultural Company OJSC, Tyumen 

A.V. Podmaryova PH/"Growth Point" nursery, Moscow region

V.V. Rubtsov IE, Vladimir region

"Green D" LLC, Vladikavkaz

V.N. Razumovsky, "Ornamental Plant Factory", Ukraine

"Juzhny" LLC, Moscow region

"Orlovsky Nursery of Ornamental and Fruit Plants" LLC

"SiM" LLC/"Leskovo" nursery, Moscow region

"Phitogenetica" PC SPC, Tula region

"Agricultural Firm "Flos" LLC, Moscow region

Michurinsky Garden of Timiryazev Academy, Moscow

"Ornamental Plant Nursery "Vnukovo", Moscow region

Thanks to these nurseries which first supported the idea of uniting and trusted in it APPM was founded and started developing!

Step 3. Formation and Development

In February 2010 the 3rd three-day APPM Conference took place in Moscow suburban resort hotel "Levkovo". 300 delegates from 48 regions of Russia and 6 other countries joined the event. The Conference participants composed an appeal letter and sent it to the Minister of Agriculture of Russia.

At the Conference the first elected APPM President was S.V. Tsivyna, the elected Board Chairman was V.V. Stepanov, the elected Executive Director was O.G. Talivanova. Key development trends and APPM corporate identity were formed. 

Active APPM's life started, including participation in professional exhibitions collective stands, organization of seminars, round tables, conferences, open-door days, in 2010 the first catalogue "The Russian Nurseries" was published and became symbolic for the Association.

During the next years (2012–2014) the elected President of APPM was I.A. Savvateeva, the Board Chairman was A.V. Bezmaternykh. Great Association's development work was carried out, “Plant Stock Material Standards” and the first “Perennial Catalogue” were published, APPM was popularized at all levels and presented in various professional spaces. Thanks to the mutual efforts the First Moscow International Festival of Landscaping, Gardening and Nurseries "Gardens and People" was organized in Sokolniky park and turned out to be a remarkable event in the landscaping world and so the exhibition of the green industry achievements did. 

In 2009 APPM web-site  www.ruspitomniki.ru  started working, the site forum developed actively, there nurserymen communicated openly leading dialogues, discussed current issues thus a lot of valuable professional information has been gathered by now. Because of the social media development the communication transformed and its boundaries expanded. Unfortunately now the forum communication is pretty quiet, most likely the communication was promotional for a lot of participants. 

In 2016 great work concerning the new APPM web-site was done. We hope that it's going to be a modern web-site promoting the participants, a comfortable site rich in useful features and a lot of information, providing the visitors with an electronic plant catalogue and a handy search. 

Nine Annual Conferences have been held recently, 22 seminars and 12 Round Tables have been arranged, the Association has presented collective stands at 48 professional exhibitions in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Astana. February Professional Exhibitions for the target audience have become symbolic for the Ennual Conferences, acting as a wonderful space for domestic nurseries promotion, demonstration of achievements and new technologies, making business contacts.

In 2011–2013 the International Practical Seminar "The Garden's Birth" in "The Akhmechets' Nursery" in Tyumen turned out to be a bright event joined by over 100 participants from various parts of Russia and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. It was both studying and fun! After that regional event even more nurseries joined APPM and the loyalty has increased.

During the years of the Association's work 58 open door days have taken place in Moscow, Tula, Vladimir, Belgorod, Voronezh, Pskov, Tyumen, Samara, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Novgorod regions, in Krasnodar district, the Republic of Tatarstan (6!) Open-door days are a great chance to exchange experience, they are happy meetings of like-minded people for making new business contacts and informal socializing.

International experience exchange trips were arranged to the nurseries of the Netherlands (2010, 2012), Israel (2011), Poland (2012), the USA (2014), Finland (2015), Canada (2016), the Czech Republic (2016), China (2017), Holland (2017).

APPM delegation was an active participant of the international conferences for European nurseries (ENA) in Germany, Italy (2011), Belgium (2012), the Polish Nurserymen Association International Conference (2012), scientific and practical conferences "Belsadpitomnik" (Samokhvalovichy, Minsk region, 2012–2016), the All-Ukrainian Nursery Stock Association conferences (2008–2016).

In 2010–2016 the elected members of the Board were М .V. Akhmechet, М .V. Kachalkin, А . Е . Sedov, I. А . Savvateeva, V. М . Мо chalov, V.V. Stepanov, S.V. Tsivyna, Е .V. Oleynik, А .V. Romakhov, S.V. Popova, М . Е . Varfolomeyeva, А .E. Rey, S. А . Potapov, U.V. Khodyko, Т .V. Smirnova, D. Е . Baltser-Bondarenko, V.L. Ко rochkin, А .N. Tseplyaev, V.V. Borovkov, D. А . Ко stylev, V.G. О vchinnikov, А .V. Podmaryova, V.V. Rubtsov, О .N. Voronina, A.A. Girchev, V. А . Ко valchuk, А . Е . К ryukov, Y.G. Drozdova, А .V. О rlova, V.V. Glukhova, А . А . Shipunova.

It should be noted that the financial independence of the Association has formed recently. Therefore the sponsoring companies should be mentioned and thanked again:

Scientific and Production Union "Gardens of Russia", "Garden Company "Sadko", "The Akhmechets' Nursery", "Gardens of the Urals", "Leskovo" nursery, " Shop for Nurseries", "The Savvateevs' Nursery", "TIS’S-RUZA" CJSC, "Experiment and Selection Nursery", "Vera Glukhova's Garden Center", fruit nursery "Makarevitch FPH".

We thank all the colleagues for the active participation in the life of APPM for the benefit of the common interest!

Only together we can achieve our objectives.

Year by year the Board and Directorate face more and more tasks, the demands and their level and scale increase, the number of APPM members grows dynamically.

In 2013 as the finance appeared APPM rented the first office, a room at Moscow, Granatny Lane, h.3, b.2; now the office is larger (we rent three rooms) and any APPM member can use them for business meetings. Proportional to the growth APPM members number and the work volume the Directorate grew starting from two persons (the director and the chief accountant) to three and five employees. 

There are bad news too. Some nurseries leave the Association. They explain such decisions either by financial problems or the lack of the benefit from the Association membership. Yet the wish of getting something is important itself! Active participation in the work of the Association, setting the goals and helping achieve them is important, as well as participation in annual conferences, open-door days, seminars, professional exhibitions, communication with colleagues, studying and experience exchange. Participation in General Meetings, being initiative, offering some ideas, providing APPM web-site with information is necessary. 

APPM is a publisher too: 5 editions of "The Russian Nurseries" catalogue have been published representing the APPM members information; since 2012 booklets of reports of APPM Conferences abstracts have been published annually; "Plant Stock Material Standards for Ornamental and Fruit Plants Recommended for Russia" (edited by I. А . Savvateeva) were published in 2013; the abridged Standards were published in 2016, they've been promoted since. The first "Perennial Catalogue of APPM Nurseries" supervised by M.V. Akhmechet was published in 2015 (6 000 books); the second expanded edition was published in 2016 (5 000 books). It's a common work of a big group of authors; 2 030 copyright photos in the catalogue were provided by 22 APPM nurseries and 40 landscape designers, in the renewed edition 4 new chapters appeared, we added up to over 60 pages. At the festival "The Russian National Prize for Landscape Architecture and Gardening" the catalogue won the silver medal as the best print publication of the year.

Painstaking work to create the information for the Tree Catalogue is being done (it must be published in 2017), the plans include the Fruit Plant Catalogue publishing. The Annual APPM Conference Abstracts are nurserymen's handbooks. The idea of publishing APPM colourful magazine has been discussed a lot. The magazine would include informative articles by APPM members, scientists and plant breeders.

Since 2013 research is being undertaken into the mapping of winter hardiness of ornamental trees. Since 2015 we've been undertaking the analytical research based on the information concerning industrial capacities provided by APPM nurseries.

We're pleased with the fact that a lot of APPM nurseries join charitable activities to green cities and countryside, kindergarten, school and church grounds.

Recently the position and authority of APPM has strengthened, as it's a true leader of the industry. In 2016 new type of relations with the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia formed, state structures paid their attention to the domestic gardening and nurseries development. In 2016 retreats involving the Minister of Agriculture of Russia and the Head of the Department of Crop Production were held, APPM Board members reported at the retreats, also we joined the working group and advisory council and participated in programming concerning gardening and nurseries.

A lot of work is done by APPM to produce a film about the domestic selection achievements.

We cooperated with universities, a lot of nursery directors make speeches to students, join educational programming, let students practise. In 2017 students will specialize in "Nurseries" in Timiryazev Academy. In 2016 we held a three-day practical seminar to improve nursery agronomists' skills and we plan a seminar cycle for 2017.

The Association members are subject to special requirements: they must comply with professional and ethical standards, aim at cooperation, mutual support, growth of production volume and quality, its compliance with APPM standards, implementation of modern technologies, popularize domestic plant stock material and the Russian nurseries. These objectives can be achieved by coordinated activities of all APPM members and mutual support of the initiatives.

At present the Russian Nursery Stock Association is a large, significant, dynamically developing professional association belonging to Green industry. No doubt it can't escape the hard way of finding the development path during the formation process. These hard moments will be overcome if each APPM member copes with his personal ambitions and interest for the benefit of the following dignified history of our Association.

We believe that the Russian nurseries will develop and the partnerships will get stronger.

APPM activity serves the idea of the development and uniting of the professional community.

Unity is our power!