Why All the Fuss? By Bridget White, Editorial Director

Upon receiving this issue of GPN, many of you will bepreparing to attend the OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio (if you’re there,stop by our booth #1517 to say hello).

For many, the Short Course is the must-attend trade show ofthe year. Growers can receive enough education and information in four days tomake their heads spin, and allieds have unfettered access to some of the mostimportant growers in the industry (see our exhibitor special starting on page76 if you’re looking for a particular product at Short Course). Besides all theeducation and contacts, Short Course is the best industry event for seeing allof your old friends (my favorite part).

But whenever Short Course is discussed, there is inevitablya skeptic in the crowd wondering why everyone is making such a big fuss over asingle event. After all, they’re not from Ohio, and they’re already active intheir own state’s association. Why travel half-way across the country to a spotthat’s not the most glamorous?

I’ll admit that Columbus suffers in comparison to BocaRaton, Fla., or San Francisco or Chicago, my stomping ground, but we’re notthere for sight seeing. We’re there to at least act like a unified industry –or at least we should be.

A national trade show — and the Short Course is the closestwe have to a national venue that focuses on wholesale greenhouse production –affords the opportunity to discuss industry issues, anticipate futuredirections and seek advice from peers. I think this function of a trade showoften gets lost with all the other activities that are going on, but it’sprobably the most important, whether we want it to be or not.

A louder noise

I realize that at this point I’ve already hit two hot-buttonissues: espousing a single trade show event and calling for a more unifiedindustry. (Of course, those who know me personally will not be surprised tofind me on shakey ground.) And I want to say, before getting in too deep, thatmy endorsement of Short Course is because it’s almost where we need it to be –why reinvent the wheel? Let’s improve what we already have and be done. With alittle more outreach, the improved marketing position adopted last year andmore interest in having the association actually represent the industry,instead of serve it, we would have a great venue.

I realize the assumption that I’m making here — that peoplewant an association, be it OFA or ANLA or the International Brotherhood ofGreenhouse Growers, to represent them — is a tricky one. Autonomy has longbeen a sacred cow in our industry, but I’m a realist, and I say kill the cow –it’s time to stop going hungry!

We all know about the $2 poinsettia debacle from Christmas2002, and the $.99 4-inch has become commonplace at mass merchants. I couldn’tfeel more strongly that we should find one voice so that we can speak to themarket with a louder voice — and Short Course is a great opportunity to getstarted. Don’t let it pass you up.

Welcome Aboard!

You might have noticed a new editor in the GPN family thepast few months. When former editor, Brandi McNally left to raise a family, werecruited recent Columbia College graduate Neda Simeonova. A true product ofthe world, Neda was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Japan and has lived all overthe world. She moved to the United States five years ago to attend college, andwe were fortunate enough to bring her on board recently. We’re excited aboutthe international flavor Neda will be bringing to the magazine and invite youto contact her with any questions, comments or words of welcome you might have.

Bridget White, Editorial Director

Bridget White ie editorial director of GPN. She can be reached at (847) 391-1004 * bwhite@sgcmail.com



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