May 3, 2011

Gardening Shorts

U.S. organic industry valued at $29 billion

Organic Trade Association releases its 2011 Organic Industry Survey
Organic Trade Association reports the organic industry grew at a rate of nearly 8% in 2010. The association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey found the organic industry rose to over $28.6 billion in 2010.
“While total U.S. food sales grew by less than 1% in 2010, the organic food industry grew by 7.7%,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s CEO and executive director. “Consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice. These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihoods.”
In 2010, 40% of surveyed organic companies reported positive full-time employment growth. Companies with fewer than 5 employees were least likely to add full-time employees (23%). About half of the companies with more than 50 employees experienced positive full-time employment growth. This year, 46% of respondents anticipate an increase in employment over 2010 levels. In addition, 50% expect employment to remain even, and only five percent foresee a decrease.
Experiencing the most growth, organic fruits and vegetables, which represent 39.7% of total organic food value. Organic fruits and vegetables, which represent nearly 12% of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales, reached nearly $10.6 billion in 2010, up 11.8% from 2009.
In the organic non-food sector, organic supplements led with a value of $681 million, representing 7.4% growth over 2009 figures. Organic fiber (linen and clothing) totaled a value of $605 million, achieving 16% year-over-year growth. Personal care products, at $490 million, increased 6.6% from 2009.

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Consumers to spend $1.9 billion on flowers for Mother’s Day

Total spending is expected to reach $16.3 billion

According to National Retail Federation’s 2011 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, the average person celebrating the holiday expects to spend $140.73 on gifts, up from $126.90 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $16.3 billion.
Nearly two-thirds (64.9%) of consumers will buy mom flowers ($1.9 billion total). More than half (54.7%) of all celebrants will treat mom to a nice dinner or brunch, spending a total of $3.1 billion. One-third (31.8%) of Americans will buy mom clothing or accessories ($1.3 billion total).
When it comes to where consumers will make their purchases, the survey found nearly one-third (32%) of people will shop at a department store, the most in the survey’s history. Others will shop at discounters (29.6%), specialty stores including jewelers, florists and electronics stores (31.8%), online (21.5%) or at a specialty clothing store (7.1%).

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USDA issues proposal to create National Leafy Green Marketing 

Voluntary agreement would assist the leafy green industry in meeting food quality and safety requirements
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is requesting comment on the creation of a voluntary National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement that would assist all segments of the leafy green industry in meeting commercial food quality and safety requirements.
To reflect the different climates, production practices and markets handling leafy green produce, USDA is proposing that there be eight regional zones represented on the board. Representatives from these zones, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture, would form a board to manage the Agreement. The board would include 26 representatives: 12 handlers, 10 farmers (at least two of which must be small farmers), one importer, one retailer, one food service representative and one member of the public.
The Secretary would also appoint a Technical Review Committee to assist the board in the development of technical requirements commonly referred to as Good Agricultural Practices, Good Handling Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices. The committee members will be one producer, one handler and one food safety expert from each of the eight zones. At least one of the eight producers must be a small farmer and one must be a certified organic farmer.
In addition to these 24 members, the Secretary will appoint a representative from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and may also appoint members from other USDA agencies such as the National Organic Program and other federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration. All technical requirements developed by the Technical Review Committee for the board would be made available for public comment, be consistent with FDA regulatory requirements and approved by the Secretary prior to implementation.

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Hort Couture plants to be featured at PGA event

The company will be the exclusive annuals provider for The Greenbrier Classic in July 2011

The Greenbrier, billed as “America’s Resort,” has chosen Hort Couture as the exclusive provider of annual flowers for the grounds and the Old White Golf Course that will host the 2011 PGA Greenbrier Classic, July 25-31. This is a FedEX Cup Event that features the top golfers in the world and coverage on The Golf Channel and CBS Sports, with hundreds of thousands of visitors attending the event.
The grounds staff of the West Virginia resort will be planting nearly 200,000 Hort Couture plants on the grounds. The goal of tournament organizers is to create an identity for the event with summer flowers, much like the Masters golf tournament is identified with blooming azaleas.
Hort Couture will be featuring many new, improved genetics in both landscape and mixed containers on the grounds. Among the most prolific varieties planned in the beds are POSH New Guinea impatiens, MANNEQUIN Salvia and SOUTH BEACH Lantana varieties.
Many of the company’s Tres Chic Tropicals will also be incorporated into the plantings to bring bold texture and give the grounds an “over-the-top” exterior look. Colocasia ‘Mojito,’ Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ and Cordyline ‘Mocha Latte’ will be among the unique plants that will be featured on the grounds.

The above reprinted with permission from Greenhouse Management Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved.

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