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
Metrolina Greenhouses Dig and Swig Event

June 25, 2017

Consumers Revel in Gardening at Metrolina Greenhouses’ …

Metrolina wanted to promote plants, gardening, and creating a sense of community, so it decided to host Dig & Swig events at a local brewery.

Read More
Jim Devereux, Green Fuse Botanicals

June 24, 2017

Green Fuse Botanicals New Vice President is Focused on …

Jim Devereux, who will oversee production, sales, and marketing for Green Fuse, says he hopes to bring genetics to the market that break from traditional production methods for finished growers.

Read More
Greenbelt Microgreens

June 23, 2017

Greenbelt Microgreens is a Finalist for the 2017 Operat…

Winner of the Excellence in Innovation Award, Greenbelt Microgreens is constantly staying on top of the latest trends in technology,

Read More
Ushio Sakazaki feature

June 22, 2017

Japanese Breeder Ushio Sakazaki Wins Medal of Excellenc…

From Supertunias to Superbells, this innovative Japanese breeder has used wild genetics to create game-changing plants that help consumers reconnect with the beauty of nature.

Read More
Koppert Ulti-Mite Swirski sachet

June 21, 2017

New Tool from Koppert Provides More Effective Thrips Ma…

A newly patented sachet for the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii is resistant to both low and high levels of humidity, helping growers combat thrips infestations.

Read More
CallaFornia Red

June 20, 2017

Dümmen Orange Enters Calla Market With Acquisition of G…

Golden State will continue to supply the market through September 2018, at which time Dümmen Orange will assume supply and delivery of much of Golden State’s product line.

Read More

June 20, 2017

Sign Up For The Luxflora Flower Run At Cultivate’17

The5k walk/run race, sponsored by Luxflora, is an opportunity for industry members to network, build relationships, have some healthy fun, and start off Cultivate’17 with a flourish.

Read More

June 19, 2017

IGC Show Features Talks on How to Cash in on the Buy Lo…

This year’s event, which takes place Aug. 15-17 in Chicago, also includes a free workshop on what you might do when starting your business over from scratch.

Read More
SNA Logo

June 19, 2017

SNA, MANTS Plan to Co-Locate Their Events in 2018

There is crossover appeal for participants of both events, according to show organizers, and this cooperation will bring value and potential new business opportunities for both audiences.

Read More
Heat Safety App

June 18, 2017

Protect Your Employees from Heat-Related Illnesses with…

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have released an updated app for smart phones that can help workers stay safe when working outdoors in hot weather.

Read More
Visser Autostix

June 17, 2017

Visser, Ball Partner on New Sticking Technology for Cut…

The new AutoStix system is designed to provide better consistency and uniformity with shipped cuttings, easier and more reliable counting, automatic transplanting, and optional buffering in the peak season.

Read More
sbi-software-triumph

June 16, 2017

Five Guidelines to Investing in Software for Your Green…

Any software improvement you make should make sense for your team and be worth the investment.

Read More
EOE-featureimage2017

June 15, 2017

Greenhouse Grower’s 2017 Evening Of Excellence Will Rec…

Registration is now open for the 2017 Greenhouse Grower Evening Of Excellence, which takes place Monday, July 17, during Cultivate’17.

Read More
Plantpeddler Variety Day

June 14, 2017

Plantpeddler Hosting Variety Day on Aug. 4 in Cresco, I…

The free event will allow attendees to tour Plantpeddler’s trial gardens, which include more than 1,200 varieties of vegetative annuals displayed in large containers, baskets, window boxes, and beds.

Read More
Iron and Manganese toxicity in geranium

June 13, 2017

Are Your Geraniums Showing Signs of Iron or Manganese T…

Zonal geraniums with low pH can exhibit iron and manganese toxicity symptoms, including marginal chlorosis, leaf speckling, and upward-cupping of the leaves, according to Michigan State University experts.

Read More
weed sanitation

June 13, 2017

New Research Explores Potential of Using Steam or Hot W…

USDA-Agricultural Research Service horticulturist Dr. James Altland is exploring an alternative method for controlling weeds in greenhouse propagation systems by using steam or hot water to kill weed seeds.

Read More
Paul Fisher Fertilizer feature

June 12, 2017

How to Improve Customer Success by Adding Residual Fert…

Even if it costs a few cents more per pot or extra labor, your customers will thank you with repeat sales.

Read More
Jonathan Babikow, Emerald Coast Growers

June 9, 2017

New Head Grower at Emerald Coast Growers is Excited abo…

Jonathan Babikow, Emerald Coast Growers’ new general manager/head grower for its Lancaster, PA, location, talks about his favorite perennials, the advantages of growing in Pennsylvania, and his future hopes for his career.

Read More