Greenhouse Grower Issues A New Challenge To The Industry [Opinion]

lauranewcolumnIn the past few months, we have seen countless buckets of ice water dumped over people’s heads on social media. We’ve learned all about a disease that, until now, was more or less unknown to the majority of us. Chances are, you’ve laughed at the “fails” that have appeared in your newsfeed and wondered at the quick-fire response that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has received.

Incredibly, this campaign has raised $110 million for the ALS Association, compared to the $2.8 million raised during the same time period last year. The money will be used to fund cutting-edge research, and care and support for people living with the disease (ALSA.org).

Aside from the money, the greatest outcome of this effort has been the awareness raised about ALS. Ultimately, the association will get to work toward its goals, using its increased public awareness as fuel for its efforts and a motivator for change.

Change is the very fiber of Greenhouse Grower’s GROW Initiative, an effort focused on building and promoting our industry to improve our business outlook, generate solutions for the issues we all face and re-energize our ranks.

One of the pillars of GROW is to inspire industry members to invest in the industry. The future of the greenhouse industry rests on our shoulders. Regulatory issues make operating increasingly difficult. Funding for university research shrinks annually. Fewer young people pursue floriculture as a career opportunity. No one has as much interest in the success of our industry as we do. As a group, and as individuals, we must devote time and money to turn these potential problems into opportunities for growth.

Recently, AmericanHort, together with the American Floral Endowment, the Horticultural Research Institute and the Society of American Florists, launched the Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. As the original green industry, we need to do our part to ensure pollinator health, and to show dubious consumers that we not only value, but treasure and protect our natural resources. And no matter where you stand on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, I think we can all get behind a cause to help pollinators.

The healthy pollinator initiative has three primary components:
• Improve the circumstances surrounding pollinator health concerns.
• Fund research that will help us answer key science questions that support the stewardship program.
• Spread the word to our horticulture industry communities and our customers about how the program has a positive impact on pollinators and still allows us to mitigate the spread of invasive pests that threaten our natural environment.

To accomplish this, we all need to work together and contribute. Research efforts are underway, but they are expensive and take time. That’s why it’s important for us to start now, to support this urgent work.

Greenhouse Grower will contribute toward this important and worthy cause, and we challenge you do the same. Please invest in our industry by donating to the Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative before the end of 2014. You can donate at HRIresearch.org or Endowment.org/bee-donate.

Contributions are tax-deductible and will go directly toward the initiative’s objectives.

Meanwhile, you can learn more about the Bee & Pollinator Stewardship Initiative, and receive updates as important developments happen at AmericanHort.org. We’ll also continue to cover pollinator health, and related news that affects our industry in Greenhouse Grower.

Until then, consider yourself challenged!

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