Our GreenhouseConnect is one of my favorite events every year. It’s great to spend some quality time getting to know the growers who attend. This year’s event, held in late October, was particularly special because for the first time, we had controlled-environment growers from the vegetable and cannabis sectors join our roster of ornamental growers. It brought a different vibe to the event, as growers from these different crop sectors interacted and learned from each other while sharing their growing and business knowledge. It also reminded me of the combined ability of a group to share ideas and create influence.
Despite the competition among growers of various crops for available labor and market share, the only way to truly strengthen and fortify the greenhouse industry is for growers to work together rather than against each other, harnessing the combined problem-solving capabilities, educational power, and lobbying influence of the entire group, not just for labor reform but for other important issues as well.
Ornamental and nursery growers have already seen some of these results through AmericanHort’s efforts in championing industry issues. Expanding these types of efforts to include cannabis/hemp, vegetables, and other crop sectors at both the state and federal levels would be powerful. As Todd Downing of Best Human Capital and Advisory Group puts it: “Seeing that type of unification at a decent level of associations, education, lobbying, and tradeshows/conferences would strengthen the combined industries’ ability to identify solutions for all.”
Here at Greenhouse Grower, our team feels strongly about harnessing the collective power of controlled-environment growers for the good of all by helping to bridge the gaps between them, and we’ll focus heavily on that initiative in the new year and beyond. The greenhouse industry is going through a metamorphosis, and we’re changing with it to continue to best serve your needs. Expect to see a new look and a new attitude at Greenhouse Grower, starting with the January 2020 issue, and the addition of more great coverage on controlled-environment crops in several categories. What won’t change is our dedication to providing you with high-level content and events that contribute to your long-term success.
To wrap up, I share these comments from Casey Houweling, CEO of Houweling Tomatoes, who succinctly captures why bringing controlled-environment growers together is so important to the sustainability of the greenhouse industry.
“The greenhouse industry has long been neglected from political policy agendas compared to most other agricultural securities in the U.S.,” he says. “It is imperative that this industry has a unified approach to all its divergent sectors to become far more effective in impacting federal, state, and local policies that have long impeded this industry to reach its full potential. We have a lot of work to do, and if we can’t have a common, concerted voice, we will continue to be the underdogs of U.S. agriculture.”
Sound-Off: How do you feel growers can band together to influence change in the greenhouse industry? I’d love to hear from you at [email protected]. Also, don’t forget to re-subscribe to Greenhouse Grower so you’ll continue to get our great coverage without interruption