First Worldwide Roundtable for the Horticulture Industry Calls on Cooperation and Action on Promotion

Michael Geary speaks at roundtable.

Horticulture industry leaders from around the world gathered in Italy on June 23-26 for a meeting on horticulture industry concerns. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss national and global issues around plant production and distribution. ANLA’s and OFA’s chief executive, Michael Geary, represented the United States.

Over the course of three days, delegates from 19 countries discussed common concerns and ideas on issues like disease and pest management, improving national and international country trade, government regulations, trade shows, staffing (including immigration/temporary labor programs), and the importance of flowers, plants, and trees for healthy living and working environments.

The European Nurserystock Association hosted the summit, and trade association executive directors and producers from large and small countries, including Canada, Poland, South Africa, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, participated. The outcomes of the meeting included a more collegial environment among the countries for ongoing dialogue on industry matters, sharing best practices, and an expressed desire for collaboration on research.

“With a collective effort, our industry can deliver the maximum benefit of flowers, plants, and trees,” said Geary. “The roundtable of industry representatives was an important step toward solving our national and international problems, and developing a worldwide effort to promote the value of our products and services.”

Speaking after the inaugural meeting, Maurizio Lapponi, president of the European Nurserystock Association (ENA), and representative from Italian Exporters Nurserystock Association said, “Nurserymen across the world are facing similar challenges and opportunities. ENA recognized this fact and decided to arrange the first worldwide roundtable where producers and industry associations could come together to discuss challenges and consider ways to address them.”

At the conclusion of the roundtable a formal statement from the delegates was agreed to and issued. Along with acknowledging the benefits of plants and trees to society, the statement calls on the world’s governments to help educate people on the benefits of plants, and invest additional public funds in plants and our industry because this will play a key role in the long-term health of our environment.

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About ANLA: ANLA, a Washington, DC-based trade association, represents green industry business professionals seeking market leadership through advocacy with our nation’s government, a community of industry innovators and experts, and unique, profitability-focused programming, products and services.  Through the Lighthouse Program, a partnership with green industry state and regional associations, ANLA represents more than 22,000 businesses before Congress and to the White House. www.anla.org

About OFA: The Association of Horticulture Professionals is the leading horticulture educational association in the United States. It is a not-for-profit, all-industry organization and its core purpose and mission is “to support and advance professional horticulture.” Industry segments served include: garden centers, greenhouses, nurseries, retail and wholesale florists, interior plantscapers, and landscape contractors. OFA is especially known for its outstanding publications and its annual OFA Short Course, U.S. horticulture’s premier convention and marketplace. The OFA Short Course was named the 150th largest trade show among all industries in the United States by the Trade Show News Network. The next Short Course will take place on July 13-16, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio USA. www.ofa.org

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