GreenhouseConnect is a one-of-a-kind experience. Where else can decision makers from large greenhouse operations and vendor companies come together for the sole purpose of one-on-one meetings and networking? Well, that’s what took place in October in picturesque Olympic Valley, CA, near Lake Tahoe.
This year marked the first time some of the most progressive ornamentals operations in North America were joined by greenhouse vegetable and cannabis operations for meetings with leading industry suppliers, networking, and socializing.
Before coming to Olympic Valley, though, each of the 22 grower attendees was interviewed to determine specific operation needs, goals, and areas where improvements can be made. Vendors were recruited to offer solutions to those areas of interest.
Growers and vendors determined who they would like to meet with prior to the start of Connect, and it all culminated in a three-day event that included private, 50-minute meetings between growers and suppliers.
Growers’ Specific Needs
Vendors tailor their meetings to the needs of each operation they meet with. Scott Crownover, CEO of Skagit Horticulture in Washington State, said one of the main benefits of GreenhouseConnect is the personalization component.
“The meetings are scheduled specifically for us; it is not by happenstance. You are not walking down a tradeshow aisle and run into somebody and have a conversation. [GreenhouseConnect] is outlined; it’s detailed.”
Crownover also said Connect is a great way to meet new vendors and growers in a relaxed environment.
“It is definitely worth your time and effort to come to an event like this,” he said.
Anthony van Hoven, President of Battlefield Farms in Virginia, said he appreciates vendors reaching out to him in advance with questions and topics to discuss during meetings. Van Hoven also takes the time to research the companies he meets with.
“That way, I go into the meeting focused on something specific that can benefit my company,” he said.
Grower Roundtable Focused on Solutions
GreenhouseConnect 2019 not only gave growers an opportunity to learn about the latest products and services available from suppliers, it provided a path to network with industry peers. Growers had a chance to exchange information and learn from each other at the growers-only roundtable, which took place the first day of the event. Discussions focused on finding solutions to industry problems.
Growers offered insight on how to fix specific challenges, and they concentrated on ways to simplify. Conversations focused on labor, transportation, and technology — among other topics.
Drew Carson, the owner of Wave Rider Nursery, a cannabis operation in California, said meeting new growers was invaluable, and the event was a great learning experience. He said he plans to keep the conversations going.
For vendors, GreenhouseConnect is a great way to get in front of large operations and have discussions with decision makers.
John Appel, President of Verano365, a supplier of products that help plants achieve superior growth, health, and quality, said GreenhouseConnect was an excellent use of his time.
“We had several high-quality meetings [in just a] couple of days,” he said. “It would have taken us six to 12 months to get to that level of meetings.”
The meetings were high quality for a few reasons, he said.
“Number one, decision makers were on both sides of the table, so the meetings were highly efficient. We were able to agree on actions and make decisions right at the table.
“Second, all the growers [at GreenhouseConnect] were interested in hearing about new technology — and we were [there] to bring new technology — so it was a natural fit that people wanted to hear what we had to say,” he continued. “Finally, it was good to network with other leading suppliers in the industry, and some of the networking events that were organized allowed us to do that really well.”
Interested in attending GreenhouseConnect in 2020? For details, go to www. GreenhouseConnect.com.