Jul 18, 2014
Hort Industry Converges on Cultivate’14Source: AmericanHort

The inaugural edition of Cultivate’14 concluded last Tuesday with more than 10,000 attendees. According to AmericanHort, it is the event’s best attendance in more than a decade.

The inaugural edition of Cultivate’14 concluded last Tuesday with more than 10,000 attendees. The event took place in the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. According to AmericanHort, it is the event’s best attendance in more than a decade.

Participants came from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and more than 22 other countries including Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, Middle East, Oceania and South America.

The event gathered professionals from all disciplines of the horticulture industry, including garden and floral retailing, greenhouse and nursery production, plant breeding, landscaping, interior plantscaping, research and education, and manufacturers and providers of products and services.

Formerly known as the OFA Short Course, the event was rebranded this year as “Cultivate.”

“Cultivate provides an opportunity for AmericanHort to connect our vertically-integrated industry, and that includes providing the best technical production and business education to help growers offer the best products for the marketplace,” said Mark Foertmeyer, AmericanHort’s chairman of the board, and owner of Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse.

Michael V. Geary, CAE, AmericanHort’s president and chief executive officer, said “Cultivate is not just a trade show. It’s a remarkable experience that also offers many educational programs, introduces new varieties and products, and offers multiple networking events. It’s a global event and people tell me it’s a lot of fun and inspiring. There is something for everyone, and that’s why I think more and more people are attending.”

The increased attendance also reflects the improving confidence in the economy, which is leading to better business conditions for our industry, said Geary.

Several new programs and activities were introduced this year, including the addition of a 50,000 square foot exhibit hall, called the Retail Terrace, to accommodate more companies to exhibit products and services for garden and floral retailers

Several trade and industry-promoting organizations co-located their events in conjunction with Cultivate’14. Most notable was the annual gathering of the Plantscape Institute of America, a trade association representing plantscapers in Canada and the U.S. For many years, their event was hosted in Las Vegas but it was moved this year to Columbus to connect with the entire horticulture industry and AmericanHort’s plantscaper community.

The keynote speakers included P. Allen Smith, a recognized leader in garden retailing, who spoke about the need for our industry to engage our consumers. He energized the audience with stories about how he built his businesses and shared strategies on how to build an audience for products and services.

On Monday morning, speaker Alex Goldfayn reinforced that marketing value is how to differentiate one’s products and this will “kill the commodity” perception of the horticulture industry’s products and services. “Whether you’re B2B or B2C, we can no longer compete on just price,” he said.

Cultivate’15 will take place in Columbus, Ohio on July 11-15, 2015. For more information, visit Cultivate15.org.

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