July 25, 2011

Microsoft Funds FFA’s Agricultural Career Network

Microsoft has donated nearly $1.9 million of software, training and support to the National FFA Organization for the creation of a new online network to help students track educational successes, pursue awards and scholarships and obtain careers in ag. The Agricultural Career Network will be an online sites that students can use starting in middle school to track their educational accomplishments, activities and awards. It will also allow students to build resumes and online portfolios, apply for awards and scholarships, prepare for college, pursue internships, connect with potential employers and pursue employment opportunities. The first phase of the site will be available this fall. Ag teachers will also be able to manage FFA member information in the network, which will provide key data for Perkins plans and reports, produce local impact reports for advocacy efforts, compile information about available grant and scholarship applications and create tools that teachers can use […]

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July 14, 2011

Kube-Pak, Pleasant View On Sustainability Paths

Kube-Pak, the New Jersey greenhouse operation that’s highly focused on bedding plants, plugs and propagation and blooming potted plants, recently earned Scientific Certification Systems’ Veriflora certification for sustainability. The certification applies to Kube-Pak’s poinsettias, garden mums, seeded annuals, perennials, and vegetative annuals and perennials. “We are pleased to have worked with Veriflora for the past few months to have received this certification,” says Bill Swanekamp, Kube-Pak president. “Kube-Pak has been sustainably conscious for many decades and felt it was time to demonstrate to others our commitment to sustainable horticulture.” Kube-Pak ranks 89th on Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers list with 845,000 square feet of greenhouse space. Another large grower, Pleasant View Gardens of Loudon and Pembroke, N.H., recently announced it is pursuing sustainability certification its own. But rather than pursuing Veriflora, Pleasant View is working toward the MPS-ABC label environmental sustainability. “One of our long-range goals at Pleasant View Gardens […]

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July 10, 2011

Looking For A Hort Job?

Think you’ve got a solid resume down that’s going to reel in your first–or next–prospective employer? Well, think again. Michigan State University Professor Bridget Behe shared useful tips for career building in her Sunday morning OFA Short Course Session, “Building Your Career From Your Couch.” In the session, Behe shared several tips. Including: - Rewrite your resume on your birthday each year. Says Behe: “On your birthday, take your resume out and reflect on what major accomplishments you’ve achieved in the last year. Do you like where you are? You may realize you do not.” - Keep the big picture in mind. “Think five years out,” she says. “Where do you see yourself? Also, think about what you would like to accomplish. If, for example, you want to be a grower in Western Michigan, find five people doing that and find out what they did to get where they wanted […]

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May 5, 2011

55 Schools Awarded Peace Garden Grant

The Muhammad Ali Center, Yum! Brands Foundation and the National Gardening Association (NGA) have revealed the winning programs for the 2011 Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden Grant. Hundreds of applications were received from school programs across the United States and locations around the world. Each demonstrated a commitment to teaching children multicultural respect, nutrition and hunger relief through garden programming. Fifty-five winning programs were selected that exemplified these studies in the garden. Bonnie Plants will supply each program with vegetable and herb plants. “We are pleased and proud to join the cooperative efforts of the Muhammad Ali Center, Yum! Brands and the National Gardening Association and provide vegetable and herb plants for the establishment of Peace Gardens to consciously cultivate valuable life lessons for our youth in cross cultural consideration, respect and nutrition though the joy, spirit and instrument of gardening,” says Stan Cope, president of Bonnie Plants. Winning programs […]

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April 25, 2011

Midwest Groundcovers Celebrates Earth Day

This year marks the second straight year Midwest Groundcovers, a wholesale nursery headquartered in St. Charles, Ill., celebrated Earth Day by partnering with local foundations that support positive environmental initiatives. Midwest’s partnerships include the state’s Adopt-A-Highway program, an Earth Day benefit dinner and silent auction and the grand opening of Hickory Knolls Discovery Center. Adopt-a-Highway Program Midwest’s third year of participation in Illinois’ Adopt-a-Highway program began on April 7, when a group of employee volunteers collected refuse along a designated two-mile section of Route 25. Midwest’s highway beautification efforts will continue throughout the year. For more information about the Adopt-a-Highway program, visit http://www.dot.state.il.us/aah/default.html. YouthBuild Lake County YouthBuild Lake County (YBLC), an agency that trains low-income youth to build homes, is hosting an April 25  Earth Day event that will showcase an energy-efficient home built by trainees enrolled in YBLC’s North Chicago job-training program. Midwest Groundcovers is donating 19 shrubs and […]

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April 7, 2011

FNGLA Reveals 2011 Industry Award Winners

Each year, the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) honors a distinct group of individuals who contribute time and energy to enhance, protect and serve Florida’s nursery and landscape industry through the FNGLA Industry Awards Program. FNGLA’s Industry Awards program acknowledges both FNGLA and industry service, with varying criteria for each award. Nominations are accepted from the industry-at-large and winners are selected by a committee of industry peers. The Wendell E. Butler Award and the FNGLA Hall of Fame are recognized as the most prestigious awards given by FNGLA. The Wendell E. Butler Award is given for service to FNGLA and the FNGLA Hall of Fame Award is a lifetime achievement award. Winners of all awards will be recognized at the FNGLA Annual Convention June 25 at the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. The 2011 winners are: Outstanding Chapter President Joey Quinn Quinntessence Nursery Royal Palm […]

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April 7, 2011

Florist De Kwakel Program Is Getting UK Kids Into The Garden

In cooperation with the British Gardening Guru Peter Seabrook, Florist De Kwakel, which specializes in gerbera breeding in the Netherlands, has started a school project in the United Kingdom. Children from 12 schools across the country will compete to grow the most beautiful garden gerbera for the Chelsea Flower Show 2011.  Florist De Kwakel is supporting the project with a detailed curriculum, consisting of young plants, classroom posters, cultivation manuals and growing diaries to be able to capture the growth of the plants. The progress of the children will be featured on the Facebook page of Garvinea–3 seasons of flowers. Besides participating in the educational project, the children growing the gerberas will provide some color to British school gardens. At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 24 to 28 in London), the schoolchildren participating in the project will compete for the title of “Best Garvinea Grower.” The Chelsea Flower Show […]

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March 23, 2011

Go Get ‘Em Already!

The question of whether or not floriculture is relevant to consumers has been lingering without a definitive answer for far too long. To you and me, there’s no doubt floriculture is relevant. It’s what drives us out of bed every day to breed the next great plant, grow a top-notch crop or spread the joy of gardening. Still, is floriculture relevant to consumers? If you take this year’s Seeley Conference into account, three of the last eight conferences have focused on consumers and how consumers perceive us. The 2004 conference was, in fact, directly focused on whether or not floriculture is relevant to consumers, and this year’s homes in on creating consumer mindshare. The fact we keep asking the question leads me to believe we’re not relevant to consumers, but that doesn’t mean we’re hopeless. I would argue we’re one of the most underappreciated industries out there and that consumers […]

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February 24, 2011

MPS-ABC Reaches Eastern Canada

George Sant & Sons, led by Ron, Rick and Dan Sant, recently began the MPS-ABC environmental certification program in their Kleinburg, Ontario greenhouses. “We have recycled plastic and cardboard for years, but now we are finding that we are recycling so much more that we purchased a cardboard compactor to manage the volume of our recycling,” Ron says. “Everyone is involved in the process.” The process has led to good discussions among key members of the team, Ron adds. Before taking on the MPS program, George Sant & Sons had focused on its energy use as a critical way to control costs. Now, with the additional information the MPS system gives them on a quarterly basis, the Sants are looking at additional inputs and challenging their thinking. Canadian growers are using a metric-based measurement system for MPS while U.S. growers are now using measurements in liquid ounces and pounds. MPS […]

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February 8, 2011

Greener Plants Concept Aims To Clean America’s Watersheds

An initiative by a Virginia nursery developed with the support of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, is taking root as the garden industry, watershed protection groups and the public push to improve water quality through a movement that starts in the homeowner’s yard.     Following years of commitment to responsible growing practices that promote water conservation and reduce pollution and runoff, Eastern Shore Nursery of Virginia late last year launched its Greener Plants brand. Grown under an award-winning nutrient management plan and methods that minimize impact on the environment and Chesapeake Bay, the nursery is using its Greener Plants concept toward a larger goal: To encourage consumers to adopt environmentally responsible growing practices at home that will help clean up and preserve America’s watersheds.  “From in the yard, to streams, rivers, bays and the ocean, better growing care at home will help generate an improved water environment for all,” says Nick Covatta, […]

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January 20, 2011

Learn About America In Bloom At Spring Trials

America in Bloom (AIB) will have an informational display at the Plug Connection Spring Trial location, March 26 through April 1. Also exhibiting at the site are Plug Connection, Suntory Flowers, Benary and Cultivaris. The location is 2627 Ramona Dr. in Vista, Calif. Growers and retailers are encouraged to stop by and learn how participating in America in Bloom can help grow your business by engaging people to embrace beautification and landscaping as a way to improve the quality of life in your town. Celebrating its 10th year, the America in Bloom program has engaged nearly 200 towns and cities in 38 states. Three AIB cities on the Spring Trials trek are Encinitas (Ecke Ranch), Lompoc (Floranova) and Arroyo Grande (Greenheart Farms).

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