The 12th annual New England Grows conference, themed "Seasons of Discovery," was held February 5-7 at Hynes Convention Center in Boston. The conference attracted more than 11,688 participants in the green industry, including retail garden centers, arborists, landscape professionals and nursery growers. "The members of our board of directors, committees, sponsoring organizations, co-sponsors, management team and our valued exhibitors have worked together through the years to make New England Grows the third largest show of its kind in the nation.," said M. Virginia Wood, executive director of New England Grows.
The New England Grows marketplace featured 620 exhibits in more than 925 booth spaces. The five exhibit halls, covering 2,000 sq. ft., were filled with the latest in plant material, products, equipment and services for green industry professionals. The conference provided the opportunity to network with green industry peers and consumers, and sell and purchase goods. It also allows professionals to learn from leaders in the field from all over the world by providing 35 hours of training.
In keeping with its mission of industry support, New England Grows presented $30,000 in grant awards to six New England cooperative extension systems. Since its inception 12 years ago, New England Grows has contributed more than $225,000 to the region’s extension systems.
At the conference, the New England Grows board of directors announced the conference’s move in 2005 to the Boston Convention and Exposition Center (BCEC) — a new $800 million state-of-the-art conference facility being built on Boston’s newly renovated waterfront. The new facility will expand the current exhibit space by more than 40 percent. The BCEC will have 350,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, featuring more than 1,300 booth spaces; industry-specific showcases; a central gathering area with a bookstore, cafes and sponsor displays; glass-enclosed skywalks; and a welcoming area.
"We are very pleased about our decision to change venues in 2005," said Scott McPhee, president of New England Grows 2003. "The board spent more than three years deliberating the pros and cons of such a move, and we’re confident we’ve made the right decision for all of New England Grows’ stakeholders." The 2005 event will offer many new opportunities, including mid-week dates — Tuesday, February 1 through Thursday, February 3.
For more information on the 2005 New England Grows conference, visit www.negrows.org