It’s Up to You By Tim Hodson

Everybody is talking about sustainability. You have seen a lot of coverage recently in the mainstream media as well as Big Grower, GPN and our sister publication, Lawn & Garden Retailer.

And with good reason: It is an extremely important topic and one that is not going away!

Everyone has his or her own definition of what sustainability is or should be. But I think we can all agree the overall concept of sustainability is crucial to the future viability of your business and the entire industry.

Start With This Issue

The only person who can do anything about “sustainability” in your business is you, and this issue of Big Grower should help provide you a little more background and perspective.

This month, you will find out what three big growers think about sustainability, third-party certification and its impact on sales (page 32).

There also is an article on concerns that growers have about the possibility of an industry-wide sustainability standard, what it might look like and the process to be certified under the proposed standard (page 28).

Standardization and certification have been real hot buttons for many growers. If you think our industry needs third-party certification on a sustainability standard, then you should get involved in the creation process to make sure your voice is heard. Even if you are not a proponent of a certification process, you need to let others in the industry know why. This type of discourse will help everyone.

Learn More at Short Course

Next month, at OFA Short Course, six sessions are planned to help growers of all sizes gain a better understating of sustainability and how it can influence the way a company operates.

There will be a special town meeting, “The Business and Business Sense of Sustainability,” on Sunday, July 13. This will be an excellent forum to learn more about what the industry is doing and to voice your opinion on the subject. I’m sure the conversation will be lively and, hopefully, productive.

OFA — an Association of Floriculture Professionals — also has organized special “Green” Nuts & Bolts sessions on sustainability. In these sessions you will have the opportunity to learn more about the proposed ANSI sustainable draft standard and what the certification process entails. There also is a panel discussion with growers who have implemented sustainable practices, which is intended to provide attendees with practical “take-home how-tos.” Later, there will be a session on “Marketing Sustainability for Money.”

You can learn more about these sessions and register for Short Course by going to

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