Nursery, greenhouse and garden center operators in New York are joining together to promote and market their nearly $400 million industry in the state. A group of green-industry representatives and state officials met June 27 for “Capital Region Horticulture Symposium: Exploring Opportunities for Ag Economic Development and Marketing” at Sunnyside Gardens.
Sunnyside owner Ned Chapman is president of the New York State Independent Flower Growers Marketing Council. “We need to market the industry to government officials,” he said. “We have to convince them that we are a worthwhile industry. Hopefully, this will lead to state funding for marketing. That’s our goal.”
Ad campaigns have been developed to promote other products — “Apple a Day,” “Got Milk?” and “Pork: The Other White Meat.”
“That’s the kind of thing we want to do for our industry,” Chapman said. “Horticulture is the second biggest agriculture business in New York state.”
Floriculture alone generates almost $200 million per year in wholesale activity. The figure nearly doubles when factoring in other horticulture products, from sod to Christmas trees.
Tim Pezzolesi, the state’s Pride of New York program coordinator, was part of a panel discussion about funding sources and marketing programs. Other sessions focused on economic development opportunities, agri-tourism and “Plants in Parks,” a new collaboration with state parks officials.
The group also examined cross-promotional opportunities with vegetable farms. Many garden centers, for example, offer pumpkins from local farms each fall.