February 4, 2013

BioSafe Systems And Daniels Plant Food Company Will Partner To Develop Fertilizers

BioSafe Systems has entered into a strategic partnership with Daniels Plant Food Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ball Horticulture Inc. BioSafe and Daniels have worked closely together for the past two years and will now look to further develop liquid plant food serving both the conventional and organic markets. In conjunction, BioSafe Systems will be introducing its own branded line of plant food products focusing on turf, landscape and agricultural markets. “Liquid plant food is a natural progression for our company” says Rob Larose, CEO of BioSafe Systems. “It fits perfectly into our current line of green and sustainable products, and we are excited about partnering with Daniels.” Daniels manufactures and markets both conventional and organic liquid fertilizers, using botanical extracts to provide high-value nutrition to plants. BioSafe Systems develops and markets effective and sustainable products to a wide variety of industries, including fruit and vegetable production, turf and […]

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September 27, 2012

Sustainability, Reaching Customers Matter To Gen Y

My name is Radka Martinova. I am 23 years old and from Bulgaria. I am an intern in the U.S. through the Ohio Program. To be honest, it has been the best experience in my life. I met a lot of new friends, learned more about the country and its culture and, of course, improved my English. I am currently working in a retail store in Ohio. We sell a lot of different plants that are delivered from greenhouses and farms. The State Of The Industry Everyone is familiar with the economic crisis that struck North America and then the rest of the world. The U.S. is still impacted by the economic conditions in Europe. The green industry is going through a soft recovery. Until that settles down, people live with some anxiety, and that keeps them from buying. I noticed some costumers consider our pricey products a luxury. Most […]

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June 19, 2012

Invent Sustainable Products To Earn $2,500

Ball Horticultural Company, a global plant breeding and horticulture products distributor, has teamed up with Edison Nation, an idea-to-shelf product developer and online community of inventor-entrepreneurs, to find green innovations for the professional greenhouse and nursery industry. Now through July 16, 2012, inventive gardeners and professional growers can visit EdisonNation.com/BallHorticultural to submit invention ideas that will encourage sustainable, responsible practices in horticulture production. Product ideas may include innovative new packaging, commercial production equipment or other inventive alternatives for nurseries and greenhouses that will support sustainability within the industry. It is free to join EdisonNation.com and $25 to submit one idea. “We have issued a challenge through Edison Nation for imaginative new products that will not only help make horticulture professionals more successful, but will ultimately help the environment as well,” says Ball Innovations’ Drew Effron. “As a progressive company, producing sustainable, eco-friendly products is a high priority, so we look […]

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December 8, 2011

Academic Team Dedicated To Sustainability Research

Purdue University’s Roberto Lopez, the University of New Hampshire’s Brian Krug, the University of Maine’s Stephanie Burnett and Cornell University’s Neil Mattson established the Floriculture Sustainability Research Coalition (FSRC) three years ago. The FSRC’s goal is to provide information to the greenhouse industry about sustainable growing and business practices through multi-state research and Extension activities. Here’s a look at yet another research group worth supporting and some of the projects they’re working on: Low Or No-Heat Bedding Plant Production Multi-year and collaborative research at Cornell and Purdue is shedding light on how growers in temperate climates can finish high-quality, sustainably produced bedding plants and hanging baskets with low or no heat for the Mother’s Day market. Mattson, Lopez and their students are quantifying time to flower and growth difference between bedding plants produced in a greenhouse with a temperature set point of 65°F and an unheated high tunnel.  Figure 1, […]

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October 31, 2011

‘Sustainability’ That Boosts The Bottom Line

Erik Runkle, right, interviewing experts at Wageningen University. Growers who think investments in sustainability techniques and technologies are a drain on the bottom line should make time to view a new series of videos. The series, live on TheSustainabilityInitiative.org, features Michigan State University’s Erik Runkle interviewing greenhouse growers in the United States and Holland about their sustainable practices. The project involved more than 20 greenhouse growers and industry experts who share their experiences and insights in a series of more than 40 videos. The interviews explore major issues in sustainability today, including energy, lighting, water, automation, pest control, logistics and profitability. In dozens of candid conversations shot on location in greenhouses, labs and garden centers, Runkle delves into the ways the trade is investing in sustainable solutions to increase productivity and profitability, with a sharp eye on return on investment. “We talked to a lot of people and asked tough questions,” […]

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April 29, 2011

How Appealing Are Biodegradable Containers?

One of the most widely discussed topics in the floriculture industry stemming from consumers exhibiting greater degrees of environmental awareness is the issue of environmental sustainability. The sustainability movement has led to a desire for products that not only solve the needs of consumers, but are also produced and marketed using sustainable production and business practices. Consumers increasingly place a greater emphasis on product packaging, and the emphasis has carried over to the greenhouse and floral sectors in the form of biodegradable pots. Although various forms of eco-friendly pots have been available for several years, their marketing appeal has been limited. But with the recent availability of more attractive biodegradable plant containers, a renewed interest in their suitability in the floriculture sector and their consumer acceptance has emerged. The Study The objective of our study, funded by the American Floral Endowment and the Horticultural Research Institute, was to determine the […]

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April 29, 2011

Demand For Sustainability: The Entire Series

How Appealing Are Biodegradable Containers? Understanding consumer preferences is the key to turning your sustainable actions in the greenhouse into real dollars.    

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April 25, 2011

Consumer Interest In ‘Green’ Plants

The ornamental plant industry consists of a few large- and many medium- and small-scale growers. In recent years, the intense competition from large domestic and international growers has forced medium- and small-scale farmers to identify and explore new niche markets for their products through value-added marketing. Discovering a profitable niche market is a complicated task because consumer demand is highly diversified. Organically grown and locally grown food products have become increasingly popular in recent years. There is a belief that the demand for organic and sustainable floral products is increasing in the United States due to an emerging consumer segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living and social justice. Our research focused on two questions: 1) Are some consumers more interested in ornamentals, vegetable transplants and herbs produced in sustainable ways than conventionally grown plants? and 2) Do some consumers have different levels of interest […]

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February 22, 2011

Reader Reaction: Sustainable Standard Process A Controversial One

The development of a sustainable agriculture standard for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to adopt has been the subject of criticism since Leonardo Academy began facilitating the developmental process back in 2007. The very idea that a standard is being developed to represent all of agriculture is at the core of why so many people are so vocal in their criticisms. There are also concerns that the standard being developed is too focused, perhaps too much so on organics. Then there are those specifically in floriculture who are concerned their industry is being lopped into the standard as a “me too” to agriculture. In the two-plus years the committee has pursued a standard, progress has been slow going. Committee and subcommittee members are continually resigning and Leonardo Academy, as a result, is continually searching for others to take their places. The most recent slew of resignations–Ball Horticultural Company’s Will […]

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February 18, 2011

On Sustainability: No Two Consumers Are Alike

Savvy marketers rely on the principles of customer segmentation and product targeting to more efficiently allocate scarce resources and effectively reach groups of consumers with similar preferences or demands. It would appear as though many people have jumped on the eco-train, but to what extent have people who purchased plants, many of them gardeners, adopted eco-practices like recycling and composting? Previous research shows some consumers are willing to pay a premium price for green products and share attitudes that are favorable toward the environment. Premium-priced products are assumed to be more profitable, and often are. Still, relatively little is known about gardeners and their ecological attitudes, practices or behaviors. Our objective was to identify and profile consumer segments with regard to their gardening purchases. Are gardeners more eco-friendly? We sought to determine whether there were differences in their eco-friendly attitudes and behaviors, such as recycling. Our underlying belief was that […]

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February 18, 2011

Organic Fertilizers In Greenhouse And Nursery Production

Chemicals that have the potential to contaminate may become contingent environmental liabilities for businesses that are identified to potentially cause harm to the environment. The potential expenses associated with cleaning up pollution may weigh heavily as more agricultural enterprises come under new EPA clean-up regulations and are scrutinized for pesticide and nutrient violations. The issue of how horticulture grows crops in the future can be seen as a threat to an ossified paradigm, or as a challenge and opportunity to better serve the needs of society. One of the tenets of sustainability is continuous improvement. Whatever noble strides growers have made at present will seem inadequate in years to come. Growers interested in developing more sustainable growing practices will eventually adopt organic nutrients into their fertility management programs. While few growers are interested in organic certification today, exploring the beneficial possibilities that organics provide is well worth the effort. I […]

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January 19, 2011

What Are Growers Doing About Sustainability?

Consumer and market interest in green, environmentally friendly, organic, local and sustainable products has encouraged much discussion and debate about sustainable production practices and certification in the commercial floriculture industry. Many ask: “What is sustainable production and why should I become certified?” Depending on who you ask, you will get a variety of opinions and answers. Broadly defined, the goal of sustainable production is to reduce environmental degradation; maintain, enhance agricultural productivity and profitability; promote economic viability; conserve resources and energy; and maintain stable communities and quality of life. As we all know, the floriculture industry is not alone when it comes to selling ornamental plants. It is part of the collective $148 billion green industry that includes nursery and greenhouse producers and landscape service providers, as well as wholesale and retail distributors. Therefore, it is important for us to determine what the entire green industry is doing in terms […]

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