State Of The Industry: Building A Collective Voice

We’ve all heard about the need for one unified message the industry could deliver to consumers, and several organizations are already on the right track promoting the benefits of the crops you grow.

Here’s a breakdown of a few industry organizations and the specific messages they’ve been delivering lately.

America In Bloom
Last year, 30 U.S. communities participated in America In Bloom (AIB), the national grassroots community enhancement program that engages communities in a friendly beautification competition each year. Nearly 160 communities have been involved in the program since the organization was founded in 2001, and several cities have made their participation in America In Bloom a regular affair. Many times, in fact, communities enter the competition after a neighboring community has already done so. The benefits, AIB finds, are economical, environmental and in the human lifestyle.

Next year’s annual symposium and awards gala will be held in Hershey, Pa. And now is the time to get your towns involved for the ’09 competition, as the Feb. 28 registration deadline is rapidly approaching.

Flower Promotion Organization
Besides the emotional benefit in giving and receiving flowers, behavioral researchers say there are physiological, psychological and emotional benefits on human behavior. The Flower Promotion Organization (FPO) has been promoting those benefits for years now, but just last year, it took that message to the sky in its Sky Radio campaign. Executive Director Stan Pohmer was interviewed about flower benefits, and that three-minute interview was slated to broadcast on all American and NWA flights, as well as some U.S. Airways flights, last summer.

In addition, FPO continues to regularly suggest simple flower recipes the consumer can use to spruce up the home and work environments.

Green Plants For Green Buildings
The goals of the recently re-established Green Plants For Green Buildings (GPGB) are simple: “It is a matter of getting the whole green industry up-to-date with research in order that all of us may speak with authority on the benefits of plants and educate the public,” says Denise Godfrey, who serves on the board of directors. “Consumer decisions are more influenced today by multiple benefits. We need to work to bring more value to our plants.”

Last year, for example, GPGB asked everyone to pick a room or space at home or work and place one plant there every 100 square feet by Earth Day. GPGB also asked those participating to describe how the plants impacted people.

Project Evergreen
Project Evergreen has been promoting the value of professionally maintained green spaces and began with the turf and landscape side of the industry. It has an annual budget of $650,000 and has launched innovative programs under its slogan, “Because Green Matters.” Recent activities include providing lawn care services for 5,700 military families under Green Care For Troops and creating an Evergreen Zone in the city of Akron, Ohio, to create public awareness for green spaces.

Through a strategic public relations campaign targeting print, broadcast and online media, SAF has been promoting the “Power of Giving Flowers” study with the American Floral Endowment. The study was conducted by Rutgers University, and much like FPO’s messaging, SAF has been linking flowers to happiness and emotional health. And, through its Vitamin F program, SAF has stressed flowers as an important design element, creating homes where people feel happy and harmonious.

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