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News Release from: Oregon Association of Nurseries

Nursery association pursues leadership role in sustainable plant production

Wilsonville, Ore – The Oregon Association of Nurseries today launched a far-reaching initiative to establish sustainability goals for Oregon's nursery and greenhouse industry – Oregon’s largest sector of agriculture. Several of Oregon’s largest growers and retailers will unite in an effort to:

  • identify best practices in sustainably produced nursery products,
  • develop and promote certification opportunities, and
  • communicate the value of sustainably-produced plants.

Consumer interest in sustainable agriculture is well established, and that interest extends to the nursery and greenhouse industry. This initiative will serve, and cultivate, that interest. Paul Bizon, president of ProGrass, is co-chairing the initiative together with Josh Zielinski of Alpha Nursery.

"Increasingly, consumers want their landscape to deliver specific environmental benefits," Bizon said. "So, it makes sense to develop and promote the concept of sustainability for those who grow and sell nursery and greenhouse plants, especially in Oregon which provides a large percentage of plant material for the rest of the country."

"This project is another example of progressive leadership from Oregon," Zielinski said. "Through this effort, we will show growers how to achieve their sustainability goals while also becoming more economically efficient. I believe we can make Oregon a better place to live and enhance our industry's competitiveness."

The initiative, which is underwritten by a specialty crop grant award from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, will be managed by Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) Executive Director John Aguirre and led by a task force that includes representatives from some of Oregon's most significant nursery businesses. The task force is holding its first meeting today. One of its first tasks is to identify a credible and workable definition of sustainability appropriate for the nursery and greenhouse industry.

The task force will also:

  • Oversee research regarding attitudes and perceptions of sustainability within key nursery market channels.
  • Identify specific nursery production and management practices to help growers achieve sustainability goals, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Identify and promote certification programs that growers can use to promote recognition of their sustainability achievements.
  • Publish results of the initiative in a widely-read nursery trade magazine.
  • Hold a conference in summer of 2010 to share results and findings.

For the next year, the task force will be working in consultation with recognized sustainability experts. The initiative is funded by the OAN with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's specialty crop grant program and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The Oregon Environmental Council is a partner on the project.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Peters, 503-682-5089 or epeters@oan.org.

# # #

The Oregon Association of Nurseries, based in Wilsonville, represents more than 1,300 wholesale growers, retailers, landscapers and suppliers. Oregon's ornamental horticulture industry is the state's largest agricultural commodity, with annual sales of more than $1 billion. For information visit our Web site at www.oan.org or call 503-682-5089.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Peters, Director of Communications
503-582-2010 (direct)
503-250-2235 (cel)
epeters@oan.org

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