Starting Monday, Oct. 25, a multi-discipline team of North American horticultural experts embarks on The Sustainability Initiative, touring firms in The Netherlands involved in state-of-the-art sustainable horticultural science, technology and more.
Over five days, the project’s 10 participants–including U.S. and Canadian journalists and experts in sustainable horticultural business, finance, science, technology and policy–will visit 24 different Dutch companies, resources and research centers engaged in everything from genetic seed modification to controlled environment greenhouse innovation, sustainability funding and long-range innovation philosophies.
Throughout the week, the 10 team members will discuss what they’re seeing and how it relates to the broader world of horticulture, particularly North American horticulture. Each participant will also offer feedback online, blogging via a new website devoted to discussion of issues and innovation in international sustainable horticulture.
The site, www.thesustainabilityinitiative.org, is designed as a communications center for the October trip. It will also serve as an ongoing open virtual meeting place where interested parties can exchange reports, observations, chats, videos and images and general updates on issues, especially technological and practical issues, in sustainable horticulture today.
Public interaction is welcomed. Those who join the website can comment on blogs and initiate discussion threads in the site’s forums.
The trip next week is the inaugural project for the site, allowing those concerned with these issues the opportunity to follow daily reports and participate in online forums about the latest in sustainable horticulture. The project is also linked to an official “The Sustainability Initiative” Facebook page and a Twitter account, twitter.com/dutchsustain.
Designed as a pilot project to explore the possibilities of the Web and social media communications tools, The Sustainability Initiative is spearheaded by the Office of the Agricultural Counselor at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC.
“The project team brings together thinkers and communicators from multiple vantage points that cross traditional disciplinary lines,” says Dutch Agricultural Counselor Martin Olde Monnikhof. “The goal is to put a spotlight on the role of communication in inspiring future innovation and cooperative efforts. In this pilot project, each of us will see and hear the same things but perceive them in different contexts.”
The October posts and future input at www.thesustainabilityinitiative.org are intended to generate discussion and networking among frontrunners in agricultural sustainability and innovation. Initial emphasis is on innovation in greenhouse technology and seed hybridization.
The Sustainability Initiative offers a platform for a virtual community to explore and exchange information on new developments in sustainable greenhouse technologies and plant breeding. The 2010 project is a pilot program to lay a foundation and put in motion steps for developing a lasting international virtual forum on sustainability issues.
To learn more or to participate via web site exchanges, questions or posted information, visit www.thesustainabilityinitiative.org.