Hurricane Recovery Update: Aris Resumes Shipping, Assistance for Interiorscapers

Hurricane Irma Damage** updated as of Sept. 22, 2017 **

Update from Aris Horticulture

Aris Horticulture, Inc.’s Fort Myers, FL, farms were in the path of Hurricane Irma. According to Scott Schaefer, President and CEO of Aris, employees and their families are reporting in to confirm their safety. Both the Alva and Live Oak farms have sustained facility damage to the greenhouses and saran fields. Coolers, buildings, and equipment received minimal damage.

Potted azalea, potted hibiscus and liner crops (mandevilla, mums, hibiscus) also received damage, but to a lesser extent. Power and water is being targeted to critical areas. Florida Power electric service has yet to be restored, but during this down period, electricity is being supplied by generator service to critical areas.

While it has been less than a week, maintenance and operations crews are working hard (and have made substantial progress) to restore operations and shipments. There were no shipments this past week, according to Schaefer, but shipping has resumed on a limited basis. It may take a few weeks to ramp up to regular shipping schedules. Plantings were suspended for this week and will resume as propagation areas are brought back online.

“We are doing a comprehensive assessment of the damage to the facilities and developing a long-term facility recovery plan,” Schaefer says. “Plans will insure that, through a combination of recovering of existing facilities and building new facilities, both farms will have ample appropriate production area for upcoming production needs and will continue to provide a reliable supply for our customers.”

Assistance for Interiorscapers

You can join Green Plants for Green Buildings and other industry leaders in providing relief to interiorscapers, plant distributors, and growers supplying the interiorscape industry whose business have been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Click here to learn how you can donate.

** Update from Sept. 18,2017 **

Growers in the Southeast continue to recover from the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, with the potential of Hurricane Maria to follow them.

According to the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscapers Association (FNGLA), Florida’s plant and tree nurseries suffered significant structural damages and expect sizeable crop losses.

Florida’s nursery and landscape industry generates $21 billion in total output sales and provides jobs for more than 232,000 people. In the area of Florida most hit by Hurricane Irma, the nursery and greenhouse growers produce $4.5 billion in farm gate sales of plants, flowers, and trees.

“It’s way too early to tally the losses, yet we know most of the state’s nursery and greenhouse crop growers are impacted,” says Ben Bolusky, CEO of FNGLA. “Almost all have lost some and some have lost all.”

Here’s what FNGLA has reported so far:
• Structural damage and crop losses are widespread throughout the Florida peninsula, yet many nurseries have already resumed shipments.
• While the winds have calmed, flooding remains a concern for some growers.
• Many growers still have no power to run their irrigation systems which, in turn, increases the risk of crop losses.

FNGLA will continue to provide updates to the industry. You can also volunteer to help or ask for help on FNGLA’s Irma page.

Growers Across the Industry Charge Ahead

Paul Rusnak, Online Editor for GrowingProduce.com (a sister website of GreenhouseGrower.com), is based outside of Orlando, FL, and is providing continuous update on GrowingProduce.com, including damage updates and crop forecasts for ornamentals, vegetables, and citrus.

Metrolina Greenhouses in North Carolina is lending a hand to those affected by Hurricane Irma by sending tractor trailers full of food and clothing. Learn more on Metrolina’s Faebook page.

The Latest on Hurricane Harvey in Texas

Seville Farms grows products throughout the state, and while its operations weren’t directly affected, the company has stepped in to help. Seville Farms teamed up with Stonewater Church in Granbury, Sportsman’s Church in Victoria, and Lowe’s in Granbury, to ship three trailers worth of relief supplies to Victoria, TX. Seville donated the trucks, the fuel, and the drivers. Stonewater Church parishioners loaded supplies into the trailers. Lowe’s in Granbury donated a forklift driver and pallet jacks to get drinking water into the trucks. And Stonewater Church volunteers received the donations and distributed them to their community members in need.

This story will be updated as the situation progresses.

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