Back in 1990, during a time of great growth in all segments of the Green industry, a small band of communicators met to form TOCA in Minneapolis, MN, thanks to a grant from Ciba Turf and Ornamental Products (now Syngenta Lawn & Garden). For two days this group discussed forming a professional improvement association for those in the communications business in the Green industry.
Those attending included current TOCA members Cindy Code, Pat Jones and executive director Den Gardner. They were joined by Eliott Marus of Lawn Care Industry magazine (a publication no longer in circulation). That group developed the bylaws which still guide our membership today.
Thanks to the early financial support of Syngenta, TOCA started with 58 members. Its first newsletter was published in 1990, just before its first annual meeting, held May 20-22 in Atlanta.
TOCA announced its writing, design and photo awards program at the organizations first annual meeting. Since then, the association has:
- Created a scholarship program for college students in the Green industry,
- Created breakfast meetings at the GIE+EXPO and The GIS Show and the Irrigation Association Show & Education Conference,
- Developed a recognition program for environmental communications,
- Improved camaraderie between those in editorial and those on the industry sides of the business, and
- Developed a new web site to provide more information to all communicators about the Green industry,
- Launched an international chapter in 2014,
- Created an internship program for college students in the Green industry,
- Created a recognition program for plant health writers,
- Created the TOCA Foundation to further professional development in green industry communications.
Today, TOCA has grown to 250 members and has nearly 30 corporate sponsors. Its communications contest has more than 400 entries each year and attendance at annual meetings continues to rise.
TOCA has been successful because of its members and their determination to increase the professionalism of the industry through quality publications and all aspects of marketing communications.