All Aboard For National Promotion

Is the time for the turf and landscape and nursery and floriculture sectors to unite for national promotion? Green industry leaders gathered to brainstorm a few ideas last month at a summit Bailey Nurseries hosted, and a grower wrote us even more recently offering her thoughts on the need for a unified industry.

Kellie Bowen of Full Bloom Nursery in Clermont, Ga., wrote in response to the July 2008 column written by Delilah Onofrey, editor of Greenhouse Grower. Here is Kellie’s letter:

A national promotion that would include all sectors of the green industry is something we should already have in place. And we’re all in this together, whether you’re a sod producer, a wholesale grower, a garden center or a soil manufacturer.

I think one of the reasons our industry is hit with everything from labor laws to water use issues is that we’ve always been a very divided and segmented industry. Banding together to have one unified, powerful voice–a “Green Industry Council”–at every level of legislation can only make our voices heard loud and clear. We’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose. So why haven’t we already done so?

It’s now or never, because never in the history of our country has the “environmentally friendly” concept been more popular. We can ride the momentum of this movement and educate a receptive audience. They are paying attention. Our products give everyone air to breathe, lawns to play on, erosion control, pollutant filters, shade–and I could go on and on.

As the owner of a retail garden center and nursery where we grow much of our own material, as well as the host of a radio gardening program, I feel it is my responsibility to educate the public that I service. We are promoting “water wise” plants–low-maintenance plants that don’t need much fertilizer or attention, trees as “backup air conditioning units,” “grow-your-own-food plots,” and even worm composting as a way to recycle and reuse. What could be cooler than growing your own veggies, throwing the scraps and peelings to the earthworms and earning rich compost on the garden? We’ve got to promote gardening as a hip, fun and cool thing to do.

We are all proud of the work we do, the products we produce and the services we provide, and it’s time we let the world know it!

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