Highlights From Cultivate’14

Keynote speaker Smith
Keynote speaker P. Allen Smith

Thousands attended the first Cultivate’14, formerly OFA Short Course, held in Columbus, Ohio, July 12 to 15. Here are some of highlights from the action-packed event. Click on links to read the full stories.

1. Opening day’s keynote speaker was gardening guru, television personality, philanthropist and motivational speaker P. Allen Smith, who urged members of the industry to use social media to engage the next generation of buyers and to invest in developing their respective audiences:

“Social media is now the new garden fence over which we are sharing information.”
– P. Allen Smith

2.  The New Products Zone at Cultivate’14 gave attendees an up-close look at new products on the market, ranging from pest and disease control to lighting, racks, containers and more.

3. The vegetable production tour visited CropKing Inc. in Lodi, Ohio, a family-owned and operated greenhouse manufacturer that specializes in controlled-environment vegetable production systems. CropKing offers technical service and support that includes grower teaching and training workshops, customized nutrient formulation and consultation on greenhouse installation and crop management. The tour visited CropKing’s research greenhouses.

The tour also stopped at R.O. Apelt Sons in Cleveland, Ohio, a traditional 3.5 acre glass range. It has been a greenhouse vegetable grower since 1948, producing English cucumbers since 1983.

4. The Dümmen Group received MPS certification at the MPS booth at Cultivate’14 on Sunday, July 13. The company also announced it will not use neonicotinoid pesticides for spring annuals production. General Manager Carl Kroon said Dümmen will instead focus on using biocontrols and spot-treatment of crops with non-neonicotinoid pesticides when necessary.

Top 100 breakfast-Reardon (1)
Bridget Behe, horticulture professor, Michigan State University and Karen Reardon, Responsible Industry For A Sound Environment (RISE)

5. Attendees of this year’s Retail Road Trip went to the Cleveland area to tour four garden centers: Petitti Garden Center, Breezewood Gardens & Gifts, Lowe’s Greenhouses and Bremec Garden Centers. These retailers are unusual in that they are all on the same road and within a few miles of one another. Perhaps due to the close proximity, the stores offer customers a sharply different experience.

Also, a new addition to the show for retailers was the Retail Terrace, an area dedicated to retail-specific vendors and education.

6. “Amazon changed the rules of the book publishing game. Our industry, likewise, is waiting on a disruptive force to change the model of the way we do business. When consumers have more power, the result is great products. But the current model dilutes their experience. When we change the rules of the game, then we’ll change the conversation and attitude about plants with consumers,”

– Panelist at the Cultivate’14 Town Meeting, “Breaking The Frenemy Impasse.”

7. Greenhouse Grower’s Top 100 Growers Breakfast focused on pollinator health and how growers can take an active role in promoting it. Panelists included Joe Bischoff, regulatory and legislative affairs director, AmericanHort; Gary Mangum, Home Depot Grower Advisory Board member, CEO of Bell Nursery; Raymond Cloyd, ornamental entomologist, Kansas State University; Bridget Behe, horticulture professor, Michigan State University; and Karen Reardon, Responsible Industry For A Sound Environment (RISE), who offered this advice:

“There’s a lot of space for you to talk about this. No one else is going to do it for you. The folks that oppose insecticides have made great overtures. You can do the same.” – Karen Reardon, RISE

8. “The EPA projects that the proposed changes will reduce exposure incidents and related illnesses by 2,800 incidents per year. The estimated costs of the changes will be $5 per worker and $60 per handler,”

– Mary Ann Rose, director of the Ohio Pesticide Safety Education Program, in a session on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed changes to worker protection regulations on pesticides.

9. “We’re being pointed at a lot, but we’re part of the solution.”

– AmericanHort’s Joe Bischoff, at “Immigration, Regulatory and Health Care Info You Need To Know,” on how the media can sometimes offer a slanted view of the role neonicotinoids play in bee health.


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