On February 5 – 7, 2014 New England Grows gathered commercial horticulture professionals for an industry-wide conference in Boston. More than 11,000 guests experienced the event and thousands participated in cutting-edge educational sessions, as well as hands-on workshops and demonstrations.
500 exhibiting companies — more than 10% of which were new to New England Grows this year — saw steady traffic throughout the three-day event, as well as healthy business from green industry decision-makers. Many spent time with customers who were placing orders and taking advantage of “Grows-only” show discounts. All saw the benefit of face-to-face networking with fellow industry members.
In the opening comments of her keynote address, Anna Ball, CEO of Ball Horticultural Co., Inc. in Chicago, Illinois said of New England Grows, “This is one of the best run shows I have ever attended. The attention to detail and the ways they engage participants on the show floor is really great.”
The New England Grows’ education program impressed once again with seminars that focused on innovation, emerging trends and research finds. 2014’s line-up included: Nalini Nadkarni, Jane Knight, Mark Bradley, Glyn Jones, Bill Cullina, and Michael Raupp who delivered on trending topics like: biodiversity, permaculture, sustainable practices, living soil, climate change and vertical landscape design.
The Garden Center Success seminar was a highlight of the New England Grows educational line-up. More than 500 garden center professionals signed up to participate and those who attended agreed with C.L. Fornari of Hyannis Country Garden on Cape Cod who said “I came away from Garden Center Success with a lot to think about and good ‘we can do this TODAY’ ideas!”
A redesigned Common Ground at Grows, including an impressive center stage, created a lot of buzz and drew a steady stream of visitors to the expo floor. Rapid-fire Sprint Sessions featured tips, trends, and takeaways from university faculty and other industry experts. New, interactive Learning Hubs provided hands-on education including a popular knot tying competition, the latest on how to keep bees healthy, and an App Bar highlighting useful mobile apps for the green industry.
A fast-paced Geo-Trac game that took participants on a hot spot hunt throughout the expo was a highlight of Grows’ new mobile app and it created a lot of excitement at the show. “NiceMeeting” was introduced during the conference. This second screen technology allowed participants to view speaker presentations directly on their mobile devices. The popular “Grows After Dark” programs featured a sold-out Dining with the Speakers opportunity.
New England Grows is an educational partnership between the New England Nursery Association, Massachusetts Arborists Association, Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals and Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association. Its co-sponsor network includes 40 allied green industry organizations. New England Grows supports the green industry through annual grants to the region’s Cooperative Extension Systems, the FFA Organization, local horticultural schools, and more.
Next year, New England Grows is scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, February 4 – 6, 2015 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. For the latest information follow New England Grows on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, visit www.NewEnglandGrows.org, or call (508) 653-3009.