Rick Juliusson, the recently appointed MSHS executive director, brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit management and horticulture to his new role as leader of the 9,000-member society.
Prior to joining MSHS, Rick was Head of School at Friends School of Minnesota in St. Paul, which is best known to gardeners for its extensive plant sale each spring. In the past, he’s worked in education, international development, as a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and as a farmer, selling peonies, garlic and meat grown on his 5-acre property on Vancouver Island. Rick is a native of Canada and has worked all around the world.
“Over the years, I’ve been involved in horticulture in many different roles,” he says. “It surprised me in how many ways this job brings together my past experiences.”
On the decision to join the society, Rick says, “I felt called to work with a broader sector of people, touching on issues of sustainability, food security and racial justice—who has access to the beauty, fun and healthy products of gardening.” Current MSHS programs, such as Minnesota Green, which brings plants and seeds to community gardens, and Garden-in-a-Box, which provides gardening supplies and education to organizations that work with underserved children and families, already work in those areas.
“There is a lot of joy in the organization,” Rick says. “I see so much strength and potential in the horticulture society.”
During his first few weeks on the job, Rick has been meeting with MSHS members and partners, touring community gardens that work with MSHS and learning about the society’s rich history and current programs.
As a gardener, Rick enjoys growing food and flowers. His family recently planted their front boulevard and alley in zinnias and native plants to brighten up the neighborhood and stock their “Little Free Florist” stand.