Overcoming misconceptions about pay, working environment, and advancement opportunities is crucial if our industry wants to attract younger growers. A good starting place is educational outreach through the schools.
Innovative ways to recruit young growers was one of many topics up for discussion at a two-day roundtable event held in December during Greenhouse Grower’s annual 2015 GROW Summit. Growers, suppliers, and allied organizations came together during the Summit to brainstorm and share ideas about how to move the green industry forward. Participants came to several conclusions about the industry during the Summit, five of which we share with you here.
Business practices. Growers big and small need to know how to calculate a true profit to keep their businesses growing and successful. One way to help them sharpen their business practices would be to provide more education on cost accounting practices. If everyone understands how to do the calculations, everyone knows what it takes to turn a profit. If everyone understands how to do the calculations, everyone knows what it takes to turn a profit.
Marketing. We are very good at business-to-business marketing, but have some work to do on the business-to-consumer end. That may mean banding together to fund voluntary industry-wide marketing campaign, spearheading grassroot efforts on local levels, or both. As part of our message, more emphasis needs to be placed on incorporating plants into peoples’ lifestyles.
Next generation of growers. Effective ways to recruit young growers include promoting the industry through schools, offering internships, and providing mentoring opportunities. Millennials already working in the industry may be the most powerful tool we have to recruit young growers.
Next generation of consumers. We need to show people at a young age that gardening is fun. The most common initiative right now with public gardens is to develop school gardens, which is an opportunity for our industry to supply plants.
GROW Partners attending the Summit volunteered to begin working on some action items that will help carry this industry forward in 2016. Stay tuned for more on this as the year progresses.