Why McCorkle Nurseries is a Model for Sustainable Growing Practices
McCorkle Nurseries, a family owned greenhouse and nursery based in Dearing, GA, has been recognized for its commitment to sustainable and environmentally responsible growing practices by MPS (More Profitable Sustainability) with an MPS-ABC certificate, one of the first awarded in North America.
This certificate is recognized as the international standard for sustainability in the flowers and ornamental plant industry. MPS-ABC provides transparency into the operational sustainability of each company involved in the growing process of a plant. The ratings of each company on a plant’s journey from seed to store can be tracked on at www.followyourflowerorplant.com. The third-party monitoring gives trade and consumer customers assurance that MPS-ABC certified products contribute to a better world.
More than 3,000 growers in 50 countries participate in MPS-ABC, including 70 in North America. McCorkle Nurseries has been a pioneer in pursuing this standardized and measurable rating of sustainability in North America.
“As a family-owned company, we have always been focused on leaving a legacy for our future generations, including a green and healthy earth,” says Skeetter McCorkle, CEO of McCorkle Nurseries. “At McCorkle Nurseries, one of our guiding values is to serve as stewards. It drives our commitment to protect and improve the environment.”
McCorkle Nurseries has systematically improved its environmental stewardship in a number of ways, including a plant health program that relies on careful monitoring and biocontrols, including beneficial insects, to guide and reduce the need for chemicals. As of 2019, all plants raised on site are grown without neonicotinoids in accordance with recommended management practices for pollinator safety.
Additionally, McCorkle Nurseries uses water reclamation ponds for the majority of the 4 million gallons of water required daily during the peak growing season, and conducts recycling and composting programs on site to reduce and reuse waste materials. In February 2019, Acting US. EPA Director Andrew Wheeler chose McCorkle Nurseries as the site to announce several Federal measures, including proposed reform, funding, and policy affecting water use, infrastructure, and quality across the nation.
McCorkle Nurseries also supports innovation and breeding advancements that reduce the need for chemicals to grow healthy plants, both in its own operations and in consumers’ homes. The company’s product mix, including the Gardener’s Confidence Collection, focuses on locally adapted, disease-resistant plants that help homeowners create “A Garden You Can Count On.” Through the Center for Applied Nursery Research (CANR.org), McCorkle Nurseries also sponsors research for new tactics for addressing pests and diseases, including non-chemical biocontrols, and development of resistant plant varieties.