June 4, 2008

Nickelodeon & NGA Promote Gardening To Children

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy, the popular preschool children’s show on Nick Jr. and Noggin, has teamed up with the National Gardening Association (NGA) to promote the benefits of gardening to children and their parents. According to NGA, children who garden have higher self esteem, get better grades in math and science and appreciate the environment. Wow! Wow! Wubbzy has helped spread the word about the benefits of gardening by sponsoring the Wuzzleburg Preschool Garden Awards, which awards 75 preschools with $1,000 worth of gardening products and educational resources from the NGA. “We are delighted to partner with the NGA to give this special award to these preschools,” says Amorette Jones, executive vice president, worldwide marketing for Starz Media, which produces the show along with Bolder Media, Inc. “Gardening is a proven tool in enriching children’s lives. It educates, sparks curiosity, beautifies schools and helps the environment. This award and these 75 […]

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May 28, 2008

Michigan Greenhouse The First Verified By MAEAP

Elzinga & Hoeksema Greenhouses in Portage, Mich., joins more than 500 Michigan farms that are verified by the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). But it is the first greenhouse operation in the state of Michigan to become verified by MAEAP. To become verified, Elzinga & Hoeksema completed the Greenhouse*A*Syst risk assessment that pinpoints best practices in water, fertilizer and pesticide use. For more information on MAEAP, click here.

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May 21, 2008

Mass Avenue Blooms In Downtown Indianapolis

Indianapolis Downtown Inc. (IDI) partnered with Riley Area Development Corporation to gather about 60 volunteers May 17 to plant hundreds of annuals and perennials in beds along Mass Avenue in Indianapolis, Ind. The group planted 420 hot pink Tidal Wave petunias, grown by Brehob Nursery, on bump-out islands along Mass Avenue in downtown. Volunteers for the annual event included residents, employees, Mass Avenue business owners, Riley Area Development board members and master gardeners. “A clean, attractive downtown pleases visitors and residents, spurs economic development, improves the quality of life and enhances customer perceptions of safety,” says Anne Maschmeyer, IDI beautification manager. “Indianapolis takes pride in its downtown landscape, and its beauty and cleanliness are dependent on private sector participation.” Most service groups who participate in such beautification projects for Indianapolis have missions to spend time outside or do something physical, Maschmeyer says. Service group members want to feel like they’ve […]

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May 7, 2008

Iverson Family Farms Earns VeriFlora Certification

Iverson Family Farms in Woodburn, Ore., sought independent certification as a way of having its sustainability practices independently recognized. Now, it has that certification with the VeriFlora label issued by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). Among the Iverson Family Farms practices recognized by SCS were steps that the family took to protect the quality of their flowers during shipments. “Our retailer customers and consumers have appreciated the end result at the marketplace,” Barb Iverson says. “The certification reinforced the work we had already done and gave us guidance to make our farming operations even better.” In order to qualify for certification, Iverson Family Farms was required to demonstrate that it meets rigorous standards of environmental sustainability, social responsibility and product quality. Its certification covers 40 acres of tulip fields, 50 acres of daffodils and 2 million stems of greenhouse tulips. “We are delighted to add Iverson Family Farms to the growing […]

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April 30, 2008

OFA Scholars Selected For 2008

Six students were chosen this year as OFA Scholars, who will be on site at the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio from July 12-15. They’ll get to assist the OFA Generation Next Committee with events and educational sessions, attend the trade show and network at various social events. This year’s scholars include: - Gladys Anguti, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in horticulture at The Ohio State University. Anguti has extensive international experience studying and working in the Netherlands, Ecuador, Costa Rica and her native Uganda. - Aubrey Ballinger, a sophomore at Cincinnati State Technical College. She recently completed a nine-month internship at Diefenbacher Greenhouse and the horticulture department at the Cincinnati Zoo. - Jenny Barnett, a freshman at Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute. Barnett is a co-major in greenhouse and nursery production. - James Cooley, an Ohio State freshman. Cooley is involved with the Landscape and Floriculture Forum […]

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April 23, 2008

FNGLA Receives Specialty Crop Grant

Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS) has established a partnership with Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA) to promote gardening and landscaping to the public through a $250,000 USDA grant. With the grant, FNGLA will showcase an interactive educational exhibit at Walt Disney World’s 2008 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The exhibit will feature displays to encourage children and their families to garden and promote Florida-friendly landscaping, environmental responsibility and water conservation. FNGLA will also transform its existing online Plant Locator into a real-time, online plant locator service that will enable growers to update information and offer real-time plant inventory in a database for landscape and retail customers. A series of public service announcements will also air, and FNGLA will work with FDACS and the Florida Department of Education to transform the existing horticultural curriculum in Florida high schools to provide a path to the Certified […]

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April 23, 2008

Measuring Your Gardening Kindness

How kind are you to the environment? The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has developed Earth-Kind Challenge to encourage gardeners to determine the answer online. Earth-Kind Challenge is a test that asks about your landscaping design, mulching habits and use of irrigation. It queries your habits in fertilizer and pesticide use, composting, rainfall harvesting and provisions for wildlife habits. The 25-question test isn’t all pins and needles, though: It has a fun frog scoring system. “The more frogs you score, the more you are doing to help preserve and protect the environment in which we live,” says Don Wilkerson, Texas AgriLife Extension Service horticulturist. “And the other thing that’s cool is that for each response you give, the test responds with ideas of what you might do to be even better at environmental stewardship.” Throughout the test, links to AgriLife Extension fact sheets provide information for quick learning. “That way, if […]

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April 23, 2008

HRI Accepting Grant Proposals For 2009

The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) and its endowment fund, the research division of the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), are now accepting research applications for their FY2009 competitive research grants program. HRI funds and promotes research that benefits “green” issues. Some of its past projects have focused on significant problems, regulatory issues or emerging opportunities in the nursery and landscape industry. For more information or to apply for a research grant, click here.

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April 16, 2008

Michigan Floriculture Growers Plan 2008 Research

The Michigan Floriculture Growers Council (MFGC) has produced a list of its 2008 research priorities, which includes sustainability, water, energy, managing risk, production lighting, marketing, new crops, chemicals, post-harvest and business functions. MFGC will pursue research in conjunction with Michigan State University. For sustainability, MFGC plans to identify and evaluate sustainable production practices and products that reduce environmental impacts, such as biodegradable containers and organic fertilizers. It also intends to develop strategies that reduce the amount of water consumed in greenhouse production and improve the energy efficiency of greenhouse production in Michigan and other temperate climates. MFGC will analyze risk management, determining opportunities to reduce crop and economic losses due to pests and publicly ordered plant destruction and quarantine. Production lighting is a priority, too, and MFGC will work to minimize production time by using lighting systems to produce plants with reduced time, chemicals, space and labor. For more information […]

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April 9, 2008

Growers Discuss Sustainable Standards

Certification programs and the move toward a national sustainable standard were a big part of our “State of Sustainability” grower-retailer panel discussion at the recent American Nursery & Landscape Association’s Management Clinic. These growers are putting business considerations first. In addition to publishing the conversation in our April issue, we have posted more online. Read the transcript here.

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April 2, 2008

Ag Secretary Visits High School Greenhouse

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus visited Allentown High School (N.J.) on National Agriculture Day to emphasize agricultural education at the high school level and stress the importance of continuing it at a state college or university. “To continue to thrive, there is a great need to equip the next generation of agriculture leaders through quality high school and post-secondary agricultural education programs delivered by top-notch ag education teachers,” Kuperus says. “We are working with Rutgers University on programs that will keep these students in our state so they can take jobs here.” Agricultural jobs have been hard to come by in New Jersey for some graduates from colleges of agriculture and life sciences, forestry and veterinary medicine. Their search won’t get much easier knowing the New Jersey Department of Agriculture expects there to be a shortfall of about 20,000 between the number of recent graduates and the […]

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