Dear Industry Friends,
I have had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors for the National Horticulture Foundation (NHF) for 14 years now. Looking back, I have taken note of a few important matters in my life. I just turned 60, have been in the industry all of my life, my wife, Lisa, and I have a daughter who we are proud of, and I am finishing up my first year as President of NHF.
You may think putting my involvement with the NHF up there with my lifelong career and family to be a bit extreme, but it really belongs there. Here’s why: The green industry employs thousands of people who are better off in life than most. What job can you have that allows you to breathe fresh air (you do know plants clean the air, right?), spend your time around the beauty of nature, indoors or out, and get plenty of exercise? OK, at times perhaps too much exercise - if that’s possible!
The horticulture industry is the livelihood of thousands of people who in so many ways are just better off in life. For me, I have had a lifetime to decide if I want to do something else and the answer is always no, this is it. And now I want to share this opportunity with the next generation, and all generations thereafter. For so many of you who have helped build this industry from tin cans, dirt, Ford Econolines (with three on the column, of course) to automation, potting machines, planting media, bio controls and biophilia, this is your legacy.
Over the last year, thanks to our donors and a strong market, our main fund has grown from $3 million to $3.3 million as of December 29, 2017. I also credit our board members, savvy players, every one of them, who are forward-thinking yet cast a critical eye upon the management of our portfolio and the use of its funds.
Currently, we are watching the advance of two important research projects. One is entitled, Development of New Pothos Cultivars for the Foliage Plant Industry conducted by Jianjun Chen, Ph.D, to bring new Pothos cultivars into the market within the next three years. And, Identifying the Best In-store and Trade Show Displays and Promotions for Green Industry Stakeholders conducted by Hayk Khachatryan, Ph.D, which utilizes state-of-the-art E.T.T. (eye tracking technology) to scientifically track how consumers are influenced by in-store retail displays and signage. This is a fascinating project and I encourage you all to take a look at this and other projects by visiting NHF’s website.
While you are there, you can learn about one of our most important endeavors, and what amounts to the industry’s most important matter: the future of our industry rests squarely in the laps of the next generation. This year, the NHF granted more than $25,000 in scholarships to students pursuing a career in horticulture. It is our mission to ensure through our young people the legacy we have all helped to build, so they can discover and enjoy this rewarding, important, vital industry that means so much to all of us.
Please become a part of the NHF by joining me and so many of our friends in contributing now. Remember: the legacy is alive, in you.