November 6, 2010

Join Us For The Sustainability Summit

The number of growers, suppliers and retailers pursuing sustainable initiatives continues to grow. What are the results and benefits? Greenhouse Grower will host its first Sustainability Summit Dec. 8-10 in Monterey, Calif. This is a perfect opportunity to learn from growers who have pursued sustainable initiatives and third-party certifications. A half day will be devoted to seeing sustainable practices in action at California growers Pacific Plug & Liner in Watsonville and Rocket Farms in Salinas. Learn all about certification programs offered by VeriFlora and MPS and how to leverage sustainable initiatives to differentiate your offerings and increase opportunities for sales. Charlie Hall from Texas A&M will present the economics of sustainability, while Roberto Lopez from Purdue University presents the principles of sustainable production. Long-time supermarket floral buyer Sandy Hering, who now represents MPS, and a representative from Safeway Foods will present retail and consumer perspectives. Growers who begin sustainable initiatives […]

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September 20, 2010

NBA Pitches In For Edibles Garden

[imageviewer] The NBA’s Orlando Magic and their rookie, Daniel Orton, got together earlier this month to build an edible garden at the Universal Orlando Foundation Boys and Girls Club. The garden, benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Orlando, also runs in conjunction with the NBA Cares Week of Service activities. The Amway “Positive Sprouts” project teaches youth how to start and maintain their own edible gardens. An accompanying curriculum will educate youngsters about nutrition, organic gardening practices, and cooking from the garden.

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May 21, 2010

MPS-ABC Now Applicable To Garden Centers

The MPS-ABC environmental scorecard will be applicable to garden centers beginning June 1. Several existing MPS members in the United States who have both production facilities and garden centers have requested the ability to certify their retail operations. Now, MPS has a program that will do just that. MPS participants can add the garden center as an additional registration to their current account, which gives them the opportunity to show consumers the sustainability of their garden center. Among the measured parameters are the use of chemicals, energy, water and the recycling of used plastic and paper. “Because we are certified as an MPS grower, we are able to show our wholesale customers that our products are grown in a sustainable manner,” says Doug Cole, president of D.S. Cole Growers and an MPS participant. “Our customers can then use this information to show the consumer that they are purchasing sustainably grown […]

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March 16, 2010

OFA Scholars Announced

Six students were selected from a pool of 36 students who applied to the annual OFA Scholars program. The six are:   –    Thomas Baker–Clemson University –    Chris Currey–Purdue University –    Chris D’Angelo–Cornell University –    Morgan Jenkins–Kansas State University –    Jim “Chip” Moylan–Michigan State University –    Heather Pariso–Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute The purpose of the OFA Scholars program is to expose students to various facets of the floriculture industry they would not typically experience as part of their regular academic coursework. The focus of OFA Scholars is on professional development, including attending education sessions, networking, and working with an industry mentor at the OFA Short Course. Last year’s OFA Scholars enjoyed meeting with Anna Ball and Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Company, Tom Smith and Dennis Crum of Four Star Greenhouse and Dr. Bridget Behe of Michigan State University.

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March 8, 2010

MPS Increasing Its Presence In U.S.

MPS recently named regional coordinators for both the East and West Coasts of the United States, a signal the company plans to get more involved with U.S. greenhouse growers in their pursuit for environmental certification. The two new regional coordinators are Sandy Hering (East Coast) and Charlotte Smit (West Coast). Hering, who is based in Massachusetts, is responsible for client acquisition, on-site support to participants and answering questions about MPS. Growers who are interested in achieving certification according to MPS ABC, the environmental scorecard, can contact her at 508-758-3008 or [email protected] Smit, who is based in California, will assist Arthij van der Veer, general international coordinator, and Herring to coordinate the growing activities of the MPS in the U.S. and Canada. Smit can be reached at 805-212-6026 or [email protected] about MPS environmental certification in our October 2009 interview with Doug Cole of D.S. Cole Growers, who has been working closely […]

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February 19, 2010

Quality Isn’t Enough

Quality product is a given. What else do you have to offer? Perhaps this question has been directed to you from potential customers–ones you planned to hook with your company’s “we’re-committed-to-producing-high-quality-plants” mission statement that’s virtually the same as the mission statement the grower next door uses. Unfortunately, the days of selling plants on quality alone are long gone. The industry is whittling itself down to select growers who are embracing merchandising, packaging, product flow and other components that historically have been the retailer’s responsibility. The my-product-is-better-than-the-next-guy’s approach will no longer fly, and it’s time we accept the fact today’s industry isn’t the one your parents and grandparents built. We’ve hit a paradigm shift. “When I became a grower, I didn’t know I’d be doing marketing and logistics in addition to growing,” says Tony Barcelo, vice president of Barcelo Enterprises in Salinas, Calif. “You better know what you’re doing or you’ll […]

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February 19, 2010

Glory Days Are Gone At MSU

The late ’60s through the late ’90s were glory days at Michigan State University (MSU), a golden age for floriculture mirroring the rise of the bedding plant industry and then perennials. This leadership came from emeritus professors Will Carlson as the lead floriculture Extension agent and Royal Heins as the leading scientist and plant physiologist. “Will and I each had different strengths, which we were able to combine to build a strong floriculture research, teaching and Extension program at MSU,” Royal says. “Will was a big idea person with a skill of fundraising while I tended to be more of a detail person and information generator. Will focused on fundraising and methods to disseminate information while I worked with the research team to generate new knowledge through the research program.” In many ways, Will was the face of floriculture at MSU–a business agent and promoter. We’ve been very fortunate at […]

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February 17, 2010

Three Questions With: Aaron Pinkus

Q: How have you used technology to improve your business?Pinkus: One other reason we’ve been able to control and monitor our sales so efficiently is that we’ve designed a software system specifically for our company. And we’re able to modify it as we move forward. Any time we have any changes in procedure we can modify that in the database of the software system. There are a lot of greenhouses our size that aren’t mechanized, that don’t use any type of automation, whether it’s a potting machine or a computer system. I know our industry has been a little slower to rely on computers. We’re trying to have the computers become a valuable tool for us. Q: Did you purchase the system or was it designed in house? Pinkus: It is a system designed in house.  My growers, salespeople, and production managers sat down with me and together we designed […]

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January 26, 2010

Floriculture Down One On Standards Committee

Seven replacements were recently appointed to the Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee but none represent floriculture, which lost a seat when Hans Brand of B&H Flowers left the committee with six others. The newly appointed standard committee members are: – Steve Flick, Show Me Energy Cooperative–Bill Norman, National Cotton Council–Kindley Walsh Lawlor, Gap Inc.–Andrew Manale, Soil and Water Conservation Society/USEPA–LaRhea Pepper, Organic Exchange–Dr. John Fagan, Earth Open Source/Global ID Group–Douglas Constance, Sam Houston State University Flick was added to the producer category; Norman and Walsh Lawlor were added to the user category; Manale, Pepper and Fagan were added to the environmentalist category; and Constance was added to the general interest category. Now representing floriculture on the committee are the following industry people: Producers Ximena Franco-Villegas, Asocoflores Mark Yelanich, Metrolina Greenhouses Users Will Healy, Ball Horticultural Company General Interest Alvin J. Bussan, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Horticulture Stan Pohmer, Pohmer Consulting […]

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January 25, 2010

AFE Accepting Applications For Grants, Research Projects

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is now accepting applications for educational grants for the 2010-11 year. Applications can be downloaded from the AFE website and must be submitted by June 1, 2010. Since 1961, AFE has been funding educational programs that promote the floriculture industry. The majority of the programs are wide-reaching, educational endeavors to identify and solve industry needs and challenges and focus on attracting young people to the industry. An example of an AFE-funded education programs include the National FFA Floriculture Proficiency Award, which is designed to encourage agriculture students to become involved with the floral industry through the practical experience of establishing their own floral business. The program recognizes student accomplishments at the local, regional, state, and national level. Another example of AFE’s support of the industry is the Society of American Florists (SAF) and Greenhouse Grower’s Pest & Production Management Conference. The yearly event is designed to […]

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January 14, 2010

Ecke Scholarship Deadline Nears

February 1 is the deadline for applications for the American Floral Endowment’s Paul Ecke Jr. Scholarship. The prestigious, merit-based scholarship is designed to fund the education of graduate students who will become leading floricultural scientists and educators. The scholarship honors Paul Ecke, Jr. of Encinitas, Calif., who made indispensable contributions to the advancement of the global floriculture industry. Among his many interests was concern for the future of floriculture, as influenced by innovative research and educational programs. He recognized that creative scientists and educators are required to lead the floral industry in the 21st century and beyond. Funds for the scholarship have been made possible through contributions to AFE by members of the floral industry and other sources. To download an application, visit Endowment.org. Applicants must submit their applications, a cover letter and all other required information to: American Floral Endowment 1601 Duke Street Alexandria, VA 22314 Fax: (703) 838-5212

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January 14, 2010

Floriculture Intern Scholarships Available

Applications are being accepted for the American Floral Endowment’s (AFE) Vic and Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship and the Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program for eligible students looking to gain experience in greenhouse production, floral retail and wholesale, and allied trade fields. These two intern scholarship programs aid students in gaining hands-on, real-world experience in floriculture. The Vic and Margaret Ball Intern Scholarship Program, established in 1992 by a gift from Vic and Margaret Ball, specifically funds training at floriculture production greenhouses throughout the United States. The Balls created this program to assure future students would have the ability to take advantage of practical greenhouse experience opportunities without financial worry. The Mosmiller Intern Scholarship Program was established in 1975 to honor former AFE chairman and retail florists Colonel and Mrs. Walter E. Mosmiller Jr. Funding from the Mosmiller program helps support students who participate in internships at a retail florist, wholesaler or […]

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