Vegetables: Back Where We Started

Richard JonesThe phrase “full circle” comes up a lot when we talk about the explosion of interest in vegetables in the greenhouse market. We all know that the ornamental bedding plant industry really started with vegetable growers in the ’60s and ’70s. And, in fact, Greenhouse Grower magazine itself was a spinoff of another Meister Media publication, American Vegetable Grower, back in 1983.

So while ornamental growers are looking for the next big thing as we grapple with changing markets and consumer demographics, it’s not all that surprising that many of you are taking a look back at the potential of produce.

The timing couldn’t be better. Everywhere you look, there’s a focus on locally grown, safe and sustainable food. That’s what consumers — especially this next generation of customers — are saying they want. It’s not lip service. That’s where their dollars are going, both for weekly groceries and the discretionary dollars we’re used to fighting for.

Still not a believer? Check out the number of opinions about the potential of greenhouse food production in this issue: This month’s cover story on Circle Fresh, which is poised to become a major player in greenhouse produce; Peter Konjoian’s Perspective essay on why he’s given up floriculture for food; and Allan Armitage‘s column on helping consumers grow vegetables without the commitment to a garden. Many of your peers are already taking the leap.

 

There’s one other “full circle” to talk about this month. Ornamentals aren’t going anywhere, but we see a real opportunity in the future of vegetables as a key piece of the puzzle for greenhouse growers. We’re adding new staff and realigning some of our resources to help you take better advantage of the trend.

I’ll be spending my time in the fruit and vegetable markets as Group Editor for Meister Media Worldwide’s U.S. Horticulture Group and its American Vegetable Grower, American/Western Fruit Grower and Florida Grower brands. I started my editorial career with those magazines and will be taking back the lessons I’ve learned about protected production over the last seven years.

Carol Miller is taking over as Group Editor for Greenhouse Grower. Carol has been the leading editorial voice in garden retail over the last 15 years, including the last three as Editor of our sister publication, Today’s Garden Center. She’ll continue that role, while bringing you her perspective on the latest ideas for marketing and retailing your plants.

Also joining the Greenhouse Grower team is Associate Editor Janeen Wright, who brings a wealth of experience with a B.S. in Horticulture from Brigham Young University and five years as an educator/editor/horticulturist at the Herb Society of America. Carol and Janeen will work closely with Editor Laura Drotleff and Assistant Editor Amanda Gallagher to provide you with information and ideas that will make both you and your customers stronger and more profitable businesses.

Senior Editor Sara Tambascio’s responsibilities will be shifting as she moves into the role of Custom Content Editor for Meister Media. But Sara will still be a regular presence in Greenhouse Grower with her “New Marketing For The Digital Age” column.

And I’ll still be writing for Greenhouse Grower, as well, covering topics related to vegetables and produce. Our mission is to work together across the ornamental and horticulture markets to uncover new opportunities for you in this fast-growing category. We’re excited about its potential and believe you will be, too.

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