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
Farwest Show 2017

April 30, 2017

Registration Now Open for Farwest Show 2017

Early-bird discounts are available for both attendees and exhibitors for this year’s show, which has been scheduled to allow attendees more time to visit local nurseries, growers, and retailers.

Read More
Asclepias tuberosa

April 29, 2017

Greenhouse Growing Tips for Asclepias tuberosa

Madeline Maynor, Growing Operations Manager for Landenberg, PA-based North Creek Nurseries, shares greenhouse growing tips for Asclepias tuberosa, the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year.

Read More
Superbells Tropical Sunrise (Proven Winners, Pleasant View)

April 28, 2017

Growers Developing Strategies for Better Plant Growth R…

Whether it’s through new liner programs or more consistent grouping of plants, growers continue to find ways to effectively manage their plant growth regulator programs.

Read More
National Collegiate Landscape Competition Feature

April 27, 2017

Hoffman Nursery Cheers On the Next Generation of Hortic…

Hoffman Nursery was a sponsor of the recent 41st National Collegiate Landscape Competition, an event that offers several opportunities for companies in the green industry to meet and recruit the next-generation of horticulturists.

Read More
Bleached Zonal Geraniums

April 26, 2017

Monitor Potential for Heat Stress in Your Geraniums

Heat stress, which can originate from a lack of air flow around baskets suspended in high areas, causes foliar bleaching and chlorosis of zonal geraniums.

Read More
Andropogon gerardii Blackhawks (Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)

April 25, 2017

Kelly Norris: Diversity is the Key to Growing the Ornam…

Offering a selection of ornamental grasses that cater to customer needs will keep sales from stagnating.

Read More
Florikan Space Technology Hall of Fame

April 25, 2017

Out-Of-This-World Plant Nutrition: Fertilizer Company I…

NASA scientists are growing vegetables on the International Space Station using Florikan’s controlled release fertilizer.

Read More

April 25, 2017

41 New Vegetative Petunias From California Spring Trial…

With the abundance of new introductions for the 2018 retail season, we’ve made it easier for you to sift through them by separating out the vegetative petunias from the Northern sites, which includes selections from Westhoff Flowers, Sakata Ornamentals, Danziger, Proven Winners, and Syngenta flowers.

Read More
Lighting Book Light Management in Controlled Environments

April 24, 2017

“Light Management in Controlled Environments̶…

An expanded update to “Lighting Up Profits,” this new lighting book unlocks the secrets of managing light to enhance greenhouse crop production.

Read More

April 24, 2017

Ian Baldwin Offers Examples From Grower-Retailers on Pr…

In March, Baldwin wrote a blog advising grower-retailers to consider raising their prices this spring. The post inspired a number of creative suggestions.

Read More
OHP PGR App

April 23, 2017

OHP Redesigns Its PGR Calculator App

The new version contains many of the same features as the previous version but now runs faster and works on all iOS device environments.

Read More
Kaylee South

April 22, 2017

American Floral Endowment Announces Winners of 2017 Pau…

Four students pursuing careers in horticulture now have scholarships to help them along the way, thanks to the American Floral Endowment.

Read More
Jim Zampini

April 21, 2017

Nursery Industry Leader Jim Zampini Dies at 85

Jim Zampini, a nationally recognized nurseryman and one of the leading figures in the thriving Lake County, OH, nursery industry for more than six decades, passed away on April 15 at the age of 85.

Read More
Begonia Spectre Silver Terra Nova Nurseries

April 20, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries Releases Two New, Attractive Begon…

Stardust is the latest addition to Terra Nova Nurseries’ existing T Rex Begonia series, and Silver is the first introduction to the company’s new Spectre Begonia series.

Read More
GGS Cannabis Production

April 19, 2017

Suppliers Can Offer Technical Solutions for New Cannabi…

Here’s a look at how a few manufacturers have partnered with growers to make their transition into cannabis a smooth one, whether it’s through hands-on guidance or partnering with other industry leaders.

Read More

April 18, 2017

Cool Combos From CAST 2017 – Editor’s Choic…

With container gardening becoming more of a lifestyle among consumers than a trend, and breeders continuing to put more effort in container mixes and components, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the special combinations that not only caught my eye at California Spring Trials, but absolutely took my breath away and made me want to immediately get started gardening.

Read More
LumiGrow Growers Council

April 17, 2017

LumiGrow’s Latest Lighting Research Highlighted in Grow…

Industry leaders representing a broad range of vegetable, floriculture, and cannabis producers gathered to learn how to implement modern lighting strategies for their own production.

Read More
Danziger New Hires

April 16, 2017

Danziger Invests in Continued North American Business G…

As part of a new business structure for its North American market, Mike Fernandez has been appointed Market Manager North America for Bedding Plants and Perennials, and Kate Zvara was named as Key Account Manager and Retail Specialist.

Read More