#Cultivate15 Live Blog: Saturday, July 11

Photo Jul 11, 5 47 40 PM.jpg

Welcome to day one of Cultivate15. Today, after checking in, I went to a session that was a sort of town hall meeting dealing with a very serious issue in the horticulture industry – attracting a new generation of horticulture professionals into our industry. Right now there are an estimated 50,000+ jobs needing qualified professionals in our industry.

Do you have kids getting ready to head off to college? If they like nature, problems solving, and working with their hands, horticulture might be a good fit for them. Sometimes the horticulture industry has the stigma that we're just a bunch of uneducated farmers working in dirty, hot conditions with little pay. While our jobs can be dirty sometimes, there is much more to it than that, and the pay is good too! I don't want to compare, but I was previously a teacher in WV and … well.

Anyhow, there are a variety of positions in our industry other than working in the greenhouses too. For example, I am Bob's IT guy. When I not working on our newsletter, writing blog posts, or uploading beautiful photos to Facebook, I'm busy keeping the IT infrastructure up and running. With multiple market locations, 23 acres of automated greenhouses, and all the financial and production computing needs, I stay pretty busy. However, our industry also has financial positions, human resources, marketing, sales, maintenance, and a host of other support roles. We're definitely more than “just farmers”.

If you are interested in going into the horticultural industry, we have an ongoing partnership with WVU Parkersburg!

After that session I headed over to a session on management and delegation. It was informative to me, but I doubt you would be as interested. I know my wife wasn't when she read the summary last night.

Lastly today, I headed over to Ohio State University's Chadwick Arboretum to check out their trial gardens. Trial gardens are just that, trials of new or existing varieties to test their growth in a variety of real world conditions. Gardens like these help us pick what varieties we are going to grow for you. We want to grow varieties that will not only look good in the greenhouse or garden center, but will also look great once it is in your landscape.

Also, while I was there, I checked out the progress of the green roof on Howlett Hall. Completed in 2013, it has been interesting to see the evolution of the roof over the past few years. This year I noticed a new addition to the roof, a bee hive! I bet that would be some interesting honey since the surrounding area is home to a massive variety of plants.