August 1, 2008

The Green List: Retailers

Charlie Cole General Manager, Cole Gardens, Concord, N.H. Create a sticker that identifies eco-friendly or natural products. Push Espoma (which contains more natural ingredients) and other earth-friendly products. Use a potting mix that contains a maximum of 10 percent perlite. Use capillary mats. We use them in our greenhouse and perennial area, which means less watering because the plants will suck up the excess water that goes on the bench. Encourage customers to bring back their pots. We do, and we are then able to get the customer back into the store. Merrideth Jiles Garden Center Manager, The Great Outdoors, South Austin, Texas Look at how your business operates. I think every owner, general manager, etc., should spend a few days in the trenches with their employees seeing how the business really operates.  Are employees trying to recycle materials such as grow pots, cardboard, cans, old soil, etc? As much […]

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July 22, 2008

Growing Green: Words For The Wise

Sustainability sounds good and all, but before growers and garden center owners make decisions that shift their businesses full speed into that mode of thought, the dollars and cents they commit to sustainability must make good economic sense. That is, at least, how John Bonner, owner of Eagle Creek Wholesale in Mantua, Ohio, approaches sustainability in his business. Eagle Creek didn’t commit to cardboard, plastic and water recycling or wind power for electricity overnight. Likewise, when Eagle Creek started a line of sustainably grown plants this year and branded them Earth’s Choice, Bonner didn’t necessarily expect the line to break sales records. He did, however, expect Earth’s Choice plants–4.25-inch annuals in rice hull pots–to sell better than they did, especially because similar plants were also sold in Proven Winners packaging at Eagle Creek Garden Center in Bainbridge, Ohio. “I was disappointed with how it sold,” Bonner says. “I was hoping […]

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June 13, 2008

Gangbusters For Green

When the organization formerly known as Plants At Work began the renaming process, it cast a wide net, sending out a Zoomeran survey to industry members and working with its board of directors to narrow down the choices. Speaking to the green building movement was a top priority, and the new formal name, Green Plants For Green Buildings, was the clear winner. The name was fully in place by the OFA Short Course in July 2007, says MJ Gilhooley of Gilhooley Consulting, which provides PR and other services for the organization. “At this point, everyone knows about ‘green’ being an important trend affecting everything from Windex to the cars we select,” Gilhooley says. “Therefore, the idea of a green building makes sense almost immediately to both professionals and the public. ”The Green Plants For Green Buildings (GPGB) Web site, www.gpgb.org, is working to communicate this message and explain the benefits […]

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February 6, 2008

Bioworks Funds IPM/Sustainability Scholarship

The Bioworks IPM/Sustainable Practices Scholarship funded through American Floral Endowment  (AFE) will encourage floriculture students to pursue studies in integrated pest management and sustainable practices. While not mandatory, it is strongly desired that the student be interested in firthering the use of integrated pest management (IPM) or sustainable practices and preference will be given in this area. Students will be selected on the bases of sound academic performance and a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Students wanting to apply for this scholarship may do so by completing an application by May1, 2008. The application is available through the American Floral Endowment Web site, http://www.endowment.org/education/afe. Bioworks is a privately held company focused on providing environmentally responsible, safe and cost-effective solutions to the horticulture industry and a founding member of the BioPesticide Industry Alliance.

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December 26, 2007

Big Retailers Discuss Green Initiatives

Mega retailers including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kohl’s and L.L. Bean will share their greening initiatives with other retailers at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Conference Jan. 13-16 in New York City. The green-focused sessions will give retailers the opportunity to listen to retail leaders of the green movement to learn of environmentally-friendly business solutions and how conservation can contribute to the bottom line. “A handful of retail pioneers are paving the way for the industry by sharing their innovative and successful tactics and methods on what it means to go green,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "As the retail landscape becomes more competitive, the idea of conserving energy and resources becomes more important—not only to gain customers’ trust but also to improve the bottom line." One of the highlights will be a presentation from Wal-Mart’s Executive Vice President Corporate Affairs and Government Relations, Leslie Dach. Dach will discuss […]

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December 12, 2007

Steps Toward Sustainability Guide Online

Special Report: The State Of Sustainability Originally seen in the April 2008 issues of Greenhouse Grower and Today’s Garden Center magazines Real-world success stories in green retailing and growing for 2008. From the editors of Greenhouse Grower and Today’s Garden Center magazines.   The State Of Sustainability A panel of growers and retailers discusses the ins and outs of making sustainability a part of doing business in 2008. Marketing Sustainability Experts share their advice on effectively marketing and merchandising your earth-friendly offerings. Certifying Sustainability The effort toward a sustainability standard is in the beginning stages. Shades Of Green Elzinga & Hoeksema, Marion Gardens and Ball Tagawa have responded to the green movement in different ways.  Special Report: Steps Toward Sustainability Originally seen in the December 2007 issues of Greenhouse Grower and Today’s Garden Center magazines A special report on what it takes to make your garden center or greenhouse operation environmentally […]

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December 12, 2007

Clarification On Sustainable Agriculture Standard

Linda Brown of Scientific Certification Systems, which drafted the proposed National Sustainable Agriculture Standard and the certification program for VeriFlora, explains aspects related to pest control and organic practices. Dear Greenhouse Grower, Many thanks for your participation in the Information Phone call about the National Sustainable Agriculture Standard ANSI process on Monday. As you indicated in your article, the floriculture industry was well represented, and we look forward to further active participation by growers, thanks in part to efforts such as yours. However, please allow me to clarify and correct the following item in your story. You state: "For instance, in pest control, a grower at the Tier 1 level would have a plan to move toward organic from conventional, but the Tier 2 grower will have achieved being certified organic." The standard currently states "the Producer is required to apply least toxic pest and disease management and control systems, […]

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December 5, 2007

Drafting Sustainability Standards

The floriculture industry was well represented on Monday’s teleconference call with the Leonardo Academy, which is setting the wheels in motion toward developing national standards for sustainable agriculture. Now is the time for our industry to speak up and get involved.  The purpose of the call was to engage stakeholders in the initiative to establish the first U.S. national standard for sustainable agriculture that will cover food, fiber, floral and energy crops. The process for creating these standards is governed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and facilitated by Leonardo Academy in Madison, Wisc., which has positioned itself as "the sustainability experts." Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) in Emeryville, Calif., also is involved and is currently implementing the VeriFlora certification program based on these draft standards. Once the final national standards are adopted, any third party accreditation entity can certify growers based on these standards and potentially use the certification […]

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