New Video Podcasts on Sustainability

October 31, 2011 - 05:07

A new on-line video project highlights the experiences and insights of 20 growers and industry experts on sustainability in a series of podcasts. The interviews explore major issues such as energy, lighting, water, automation, pest control, logistics and profitability.Growers who think that investments in sustainability techniques and technologies are merely a drain on the bottom line may want to check out a new series of video podcasts.

The video series will launch on Oct. 31 at and features Michigan State University professor and GPN contributor Dr. Erik Runkle interviewing greenhouse growers in the U.S. and Holland on their sustainable practices.

In dozens of candid conversations shot on location in greenhouses, labs and garden centers, Dr. Runkle delves into the various sustainable solutions to increase productivity and profitability, with an emphasis on return on investment.

"We talked to a lot of people and asked tough questions," said Dr. Runkle. "We discussed cutting-edge approaches like geothermal heating systems and solar panels for electricity, which in some cases are only economical with government subsidies. We also looked at smart, common-sense solutions like the grower who borrowed technology from the tropical fish industry to keep orchid shipments at optimal temperatures. In many situations, the return on investment for even very expensive conversions was surprisingly reasonable."

The interviews explore major issues in sustainability today, including energy, lighting, water, automation, pest control, logistics and profitability. Additionally, the team sought answers to questions about sustainable practices posed by American trade journalists including GPN's Tim Hodson. The podcast series can be viewed at and on the project’s YouTube channel,

The project interviewed more than 20 greenhouse growers and industry experts who share their experiences and insights on sustainable practices. The production team was led by MSU Associate Professor Erik Runkle and Dutch Advisor Agricultural Affairs Caroline Feitel of the Royal Netherlands Embassy, Washington, D.C.

Interviews were conducted in July and August with U.S. and Dutch greenhouse growers and other professionals on location. Some of the participants include: David Arkell, 360 Energy; Scott Giesbrecht, Green Circle Growers; Dr. Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University; and Tim Hodson, Greenhouse Product News.

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