Since 2009, the Michigan Greenhouse Growers Expo has been held concurrently with the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable and Farm Market EXPO. This year’s Expo will be held Dec. 8-10, 2015, in Grand Rapids, MI.
The expanded program includes education sessions and trade show exhibitors for greenhouse growers. The conference, which had previously been held separately, is sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit Flower Growers Association and the Western Michigan Greenhouse Association. One registration fee covers both conferences.
The most recent combined EXPO attracted more than 4,200 attendees from 42 states and five Canadian provinces. The trade show covers four acres of exhibit space with 450 exhibitors, and the education program offers more than 70 sessions and workshops over three days. Michigan State University (MSU) Extension plans the education program in cooperation with the sponsoring organizations.
Here are six highlights you can expect from this year’s Expo. Check out the Great Lakes Expo website for a complete list of educational sessions as well as trade show details and other special events.
1. Michigan Floriculture Growers Council Reception And Annual Meeting (Tuesday, Dec. 8, 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.)
All Michigan Floriculture Growers Council members and other interested industry professionals are invited to attend this event. This will be an opportunity for an enjoyable social time and informative discussion of the Council’s activities. The Council’s annual meeting will be held as part of this event. Light refreshments will be served.
2. Boomers Or Bust? Drawing Gen X And Gen Y To The Garden Center
In this Tuesday morning session, sponsored by Ball Horticulture, Michigan State University’s Bridget Behe will discuss how some retailers struggle to recruit new customers, especially the younger Gen X and Gen Y. Studies conducted over the last two years provide some interesting insight into those individuals and their interactions with our products and services. The 20- and 30-year olds see our industry differently than Boomers. Behe will share some research-based insight and activities garden centers are using in 2015 to put that new information into action.
3. Best Performing Annuals From The 2015 Michigan Garden Plant Tour
Attendees will experience a fast-paced summary of the best new plant varieties from the 2015 Michigan Garden Plant Tour trial sites, which consisted of five leading young plant producers and the MSU Horticultural Demonstration Gardens.
4. How To Reduce Your Fertilizer Use
Producing quality plants with less fertilizer takes more than just lowering the fertilizer concentration applied to the plant. Dr. Bill Argo of Blackmore Co. will discuss the minimum amount of fertilizer required to produce several crops, as well as factors such as leaching or media pH that alter a plant’s fertilizer requirement. Learn how to develop an overall fertilizer strategy that minimizes nutritional problems but still reduces the overall concentration of applied nutrients.
5. How I Grew My Business: Recent Adaptations We’ve Made To Stay Competitive And Profitable
Production and sales of greenhouse and ornamental crops is increasingly changing, necessitating companies to anticipate and adapt to stay competitive. This panel discussion will share what changes Michigan greenhouse growers and managers have made in the last three to five years to meet the increasingly challenging business of growing and selling greenhouse/ornamental crops.
6. Conventional Lamps Or LEDs? Factors That You Should Consider
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) continue to increase in intensity and energy efficiency while their costs are also coming down. Dr. Erik Runkle of MSU will discuss several important characteristics and distinguishing factors when considering whether to purchase LEDs or conventional lamps for your greenhouse operation.