Telling Our Story

Ideas for collective industry promotion are percolating again. On June 11 and 12, Bailey Nurseries in Minnesota hosted a summit that brought about 30 green industry leaders together to explore what could be done to unite the turf and landscape, nursery and floriculture sectors to work toward national promotion.

This initiative began with Dale Siems, past president and CEO of Sherman Nurseries in Iowa. For the past year, he has been talking to members of the nursery industry and learning more about existing programs that have the potential to be all-encompassing in both their financial support and activities —America In Bloom (AIB) and Project Evergreen. "We can’t give up on a national marketing program," an enthusiastic Siems says. "We’ve got the best story in the world. We’re the original green industry and everybody is eating our lunch."

For seven years, AIB has been a successful grassroots initiative on a very limited annual budget of $200,000, funded by industry contributions and registration fees cities pay to participate in the national competition. To date, AIB has actively engaged more than 160 cities ranging in populations from a few hundred people to millions. Combined, these cities represent 21 million residents in 37 states. AIB also has generated 250 million impressions in the national media with articles on participating cities.

The most encouraging part of AIB is its long residual after a city participates. In a recent press release itemizing all of its greening initiatives, the city of Akron, Ohio, referenced its 2003 participation and win in AIB five years later. Most of the 160 programs that got planted are continuing. We are getting our bang for our buck.

Project Evergreen promotes the value of professionally maintained green spaces and began with the turf and landscape side of the industry. It has an annual budget of $650,000 and has launched innovative programs under its slogan — "Because Green Matters." Another program that has made a difference for 5,700 families is Green Care For Troops, in which landscapers provide lawn and landscape care for families of deployed soldiers. This spring, the organization created an Evergreen Zone in Akron and mobilized a blitz to create awareness for green spaces. The goal is to do this in 20 cities, and Milwaukee will be next.

During a brainstorming part of the summit, Steve Cissel of 10-20 Media presented an idea that ties in nicely with consumer and media interest in environmental awareness called Oxygen Footprint. The idea is to create more oxygen with plants instead of focusing on carbon. Consumers could go online and calculate their oxygen footprint and link to a wide range of local sources, including growers, garden centers and landscapers.

This could be similar to the Produce For Better Health (PBH) Foundation’s strategy that promotes eating more fruits and vegetables. Campaigns began 15 years ago with the Five A Day message, which has been updated more recently to be "Fruits & Veggies–More Matters." This isn’t a promotion order, but a voluntary umbrella message that unifies the produce industry. Companies and associations that promote specific fruits and vegetables can combine this message with their own.

A truly representative green industry council could be formed to develop campaigns or messages that promote the quality of life benefits and solutions plants offer, whether it be offsetting carbon emissions, improving property values, reducing crime, revitalizing business districts or enhancing personal and social wellness.

A similar initiative took place in the 1980s and ’90s when the Garden Council was formed, but its fatal mistake was pursuing a national promotion order funded by container assessments called Plants For America. Nursery and floriculture growers were represented on that council.

Coming up with common messaging, a logo and an informational Web site with resources doesn’t need to cost millions of dollars. What we really need is the right leadership to come together and promote a unified message we can all get behind.

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Little-Leaf-Farms-New-Greenhouse

May 22, 2018

Little Leaf Farms Expands Its Indoor Baby Greens Produc…

The Massachusetts-based company has increased the size of its greenhouses to 5 acres, more than doubling its annual production of baby greens.

Read More
Biocontrols in a Greenhouse

May 22, 2018

Register Now for Award-Winning Online Greenhouse Growin…

Learn about production cost and profit, as well as the basic behind plant science, via two online classes being offered by the University of Florida.

Read More
Brownley-Visit-to-Sun-Valley-Group

May 21, 2018

Insights From Lawmaker’s Visit to a Top 100 Greenhouse …

When Rep. Julia Brownley of California visited Sun Valley Group, she got a firsthand look at a very busy time in the life of a flower grower.

Read More
Oasis-Root-Cubes-Retail-Pack

May 20, 2018

Smithers-Oasis Now Offering Rootcubes Foam Media in Ret…

Designed with smaller or hobby growers in mind, the Rootcubes packs are also ideal for larger growers to use for trials.

Read More
Westerlay-Orchids-School-Donation

May 19, 2018

Westerlay Orchids Shows Its Support for Local Schools

Proceeds from all sales the company made during the Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour will be donated to fund STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programs.

Read More

May 18, 2018

Five Education Tracks Set for IGC Show

The event will feature topics such as online sales, store renovations, and more.

Read More
Ian Baldwin

May 17, 2018

Ian Baldwin: Why the Rise of the Under 35s Will Help Yo…

In his latest blog, garden retail consultant Ian Baldwin says this new generation of plant buyers is seriously engaged in gardening, and is using social media to help become successful plant owners.

Read More
Perennial-Plant-Symposium

May 16, 2018

2018 Perennial Plant Symposium Offering Power to the Pe…

Perennial and gardening enthusiasts of all experience levels are invited to attend plant discussions on Monday, July 30 for a chance to hear from the best in the field on a range of topics.

Read More
ISO-Group-Transplanter-feature

May 15, 2018

Floriculture’s Future Hangs in the Balance Between Labo…

The nation’s largest growers are investing heavily in technology, new structures, human resources, and efficiency measures to stay competitive and profitable, despite significant labor shortages.

Read More
Gotham-Greens

May 15, 2018

Gotham Greens Expanding Greenhouse Production Into Balt…

Scheduled to open in early 2019, Gotham Greens’ Baltimore facility will bring a reliable, year-round, local supply of fresh produce to serve retail, restaurant, and foodservice customers throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Read More
Growing Innovations conference and tradeshow logo

May 14, 2018

Growing Innovations Geared to Connect Specialty Ag With…

Innovation abounds in agriculture, yet it can feel sometimes as if the gap between exciting new developments and what growers actually need in their operations can be awfully wide. We at Meister Media Worldwide intend to help narrow this gap. Which is why we’re pleased to introduce Growing Innovations – an altogether new type of event that will debut Nov. 7-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. Unlike most agricultural events and trade shows, Growing Innovations is not about technology per se, nor is it about everyday issues that growers face. Instead, this new conference and tradeshow is very acutely solutions oriented. It takes as its starting point specialty crop growers’ most pressing real-world challenges – production efficiency, labor and water shortages, logistics, and data management to name just a few – and showcases advances, both current and up-and-coming, that have the greatest potential to bring […]

Read More
Botrytis-Symptoms-feature

May 12, 2018

Fungicide Resistance in Botrytis is an International Ch…

Clemson University’s research team is exploring Botrytis in cut roses to find out how to help you maintain postharvest crop quality by avoiding fungicide resistance.

Read More
Miscanthus-Bandwidth EmeraldCoastGrowers

May 11, 2018

New Sterile Ornamental Grasses One Solution to Grass In…

Aggressive grass species can turn gardeners off to using ornamental grasses. Less fertile alternatives offer options for keeping grasses from taking over the garden.

Read More

May 10, 2018

Beekenkamp Plants Acquires Sunny Osteospermum Breeding …

Beekenkamp took over all Sunny Holland sales activities in 2017, and now has ownership of the company’s entire breeding program.

Read More
algae-on-greenhouse-benches-feature

May 9, 2018

How Greenhouse Sanitation Helps You Start Clean and Sta…

If you keep your greenhouse clean from the start, you’ll save yourself money in the end.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

May 8, 2018

Greenhouse Production Costs Keep Going Up, So Why Are P…

There is a general sentiment within the industry that pricing needs to be reevaluated to better account for the trend toward rising input costs.

Read More
VYPRxPLUS (Fluence Bioengineering)

May 7, 2018

Lighting Innovator Fluence Bioengineering Acquired by O…

Fluence specializes in LED-based horticultural systems, using Osram LED chips, for a wide variety of applications, including vertical farming and greenhouses.

Read More
2018-Top-100-logo-with-image-feature

May 7, 2018

2018 Greenhouse Grower Top 100 Growers: The Complete Li…

Strong growth among the nation's largest growers shows no signs of slowing down, as nearly a third of the Top 100 growers have significantly expanded production, and many have ongoing projects underway.

Read More