Improving the Garden Centre Industry Worldwide

The International Garden Centre Association (IGCA) provides valuable benefits for members around the world. Its key event each year is the International Garden Centre Congress held in a different country every year and provides unrivalled networking opportunities for members. The Congress sees over 200 of the best Garden Centre operators in the world meet together for one week and visit the best in Garden Centre retailing that the host country has to offer.

Milton Vadoulis from Vadoulis Plants Plus, Australia said: “We are a long way from the rest of the world in Australia but by attending IGCA Congresses, I have been able to see the latest trends in plants, catering, giftware and all other garden-related products. The Congress has helped me improve my business plus lift sales and profitability. The networking and communication opportunities with my peers provided by the Congress are an added benefit for my business.” John Zaplatynsky from Gardenworks, Canada said: “I have attended five Congresses now and there is no doubt that the ideas I have picked up have made a huge difference to my business. I now have friends in Garden Centres around the world and we discuss trends as well as very important business statistics such as wages to sales, average sale and many other areas that help us all. We are able to exchange ideas with members via Facebook and get great value out of the quarterly International E-News. One important aspect of the Congress is a working programme for younger employees and managers.”

The International Garden Centre Association is an independent not for profit organization committed to the continuous improvement of the international garden centre industry through co-operation with global partners to align international, regional and industry agendas. The Congress was held in Germany this August and will be in Australia in 2013 and Ireland in 2014. We ask you to contact us, enquire about joining and start benefiting.

Further information: intgardencentre.org

World’s Largest Rooftop Farm Planned for Brooklyn Making New York the Model for Urban Agriculture

A multi-acre farm will be built on 100,000 square feet of rooftop space in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park—making it the largest rooftop farm in the world.

The state-of-the-art, hydroponic greenhouse is being built by BrightFarms, Inc. in partnership with Salmar Properties LLC. The farm will grow up to 1 million pounds of local produce per year, including tomatoes, lettuces and herbs, which will cultivate a new national model for urban agriculture.

The rooftop farm will be built on Federal Building #2, renamed Liberty View Industrial Plaza, an 8-story 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse building. Salmar Properties’ redevelopment of the building, coupled with BrightFarms’ visionary rooftop design, is part of the Bloomberg administration’s plan to revitalize Brooklyn’s industrial waterfront.

The rooftop farm will both help revitalize the building and revolutionize local produce. It will grow enough crops to meet the fresh vegetable consumption needs of up to 5,000 New Yorkers, create jobs, and prevent as much as 1.8 million gallons of storm water from going into local waterways. By eliminating the length and complexity of the produce supply chain, this farm will grow produce that is fresher, tastier, and more sustainable than produce shipped across the country.

“The partnership between BrightFarms and Salmar Properties to build the world’s largest rooftop farm is an exciting new model for sustainable, urban agriculture,” says New York City Council Speaker, Christine C. Quinn. “The farm will contribute meaningfully to the mission of FoodWorks, my vision to improve NYC’s food system by dramatically increasing local food production while positively affecting public health, the economy, and the environment.”

For further information: brightfarms.com

 

Towers of Trees – Vertical Forests in the Sky

The Vertical Forest project aims to build high-density tower blocks with trees within the city.

The first example of a Bosco Verticale/Vertical Forest is currently under construction in the Garibaldi Repubblica area in Milan, with two towers which are 80 metres and 112 metres tall respectively, and which will be able to hold 480 big and medium size trees, 250 small size trees, 11.000 groundcover plants and 5.000 shrubs (the equivalent of a hectare of forest). The Vertical Forest has at its heart an concept of architecture which demineralises urban areas and uses the changing shape and form of leaves for its facades, and thus which hands over to vegetation itself the task of absorbing the dust in the air, and of creating an adequate micro-climate in order to filter out the sunlight. This is a kind of biological architecture which refuses to adopt a strictly technological and mechanical approach to environmental sustainability.

Vertical Forest increases biodiversity. It helps to set up an urban ecosystem where different kinds of vegetation create a vertical environment which can also be colonised by birds and insects, and thus becomes both a magnet for and a symbol of the spontaneous recolonisation of the city by vegetation and by animal life. The creation of a number of vertical forests in the city will be able to create a network of environmental corridors which will give life to the main parks in the city, bringing the green space of avenues and gardens and connecting various spaces of spontaneous vegetation growth.

Trees are a key element in understanding architectural projects and garden systems. In this case the choice of the types of trees was made to fit with their positioning on the facades and in terms of their height, and took two years to conclude alongside a group of botanists. The plants used in this project will be grown specifically for this purpose and will be pre-cultivated. Over this period these plants slowly got used to the conditions they will be placed in on the building.

For further information: stefanoboeriarchitetti.net

Grow for Gold – A Garden for the Games in London

Thousands of people across the UK have already signed up to be London 2012 ‘Local Leaders’ who will bring friends, families and neighbours together to celebrate the Olympic Games. The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has now announced ideas and expert tips on how green-fingered Local Leaders and gardening novices alike can ‘Garden for the Games’.

Gardeners of all levels of abilities and experience can visit london2012.com/localleaders for advice on how to ‘Grow for Gold’ by filling the window boxes and hanging baskets on their street with golden marigolds, the London 2012 colours or the national colours of their favourite team competing in the Games.

Local Leaders can also find out how to grow their own patch of bee-friendly wildflowers like the spectacular golden meadows that will surround the Olympic Stadium during the Games and get tips from expert gardener Phil Turvil on how to create floral Olympic Rings or the Paralympic Agitos in their garden.

Gardeners are already taking up the opportunity to encourage local people to enjoy the Games and gardening together. To welcome the Olympic Torch-residents at Portesham in Dorset are planting golden marigolds while children at a nursery in Essex are creating the Olympic Rings out of painted tyres filled with flowers.

LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said: “We are a nation of gardeners and Local Leaders are using London 2012 as an opportunity to get friends, family and neighbours together to brighten up their area and build on our proud gardening heritage. Garden for the Games is a chance for the green-fingered to show off their skills and novices of all ages to learn about gardening and wildlife in their neighbourhood.”

Des Smith, Head Gardener for the London 2012 Gardens in the Olympic Park, said: “Whether you are planning to celebrate the Games with either the Olympic Rings, the Paralympic Agitos or backing Team GB with a red, white and blue floral display, you can get advice and support from your local garden centre or nursery and pick the most pollen-rich, bee and butterfly-friendly flowers.”

Garden for the Games is part of the London 2012 Local Leaders programme, an Organising Committee first which invites people across the UK to bring friends, family and neighbours together and create their own Games celebrations.

Further information: london2012.com

 

Urban farming in Brooklyn, New York: 596 acres

Brooklyn is one of the five biggest districts of New York: More than 2,5 million people live here. The city of New York owns thousands of slivers of unused land, and about a year ago, a group of Brooklyn gardeners had an idea: identify all the vacant lots in the borough, then help neighborhood residents take them over.

They built an online map, then a mobile app with information about the plots, including the names and phone numbers of the agencies that owned them. They called themselves “596 ACRES”, after the total area of unused public land in Brooklyn, according to city data 2010. If even a small portion of that was committed to neighborhood food production, there would be an abundance of fresh seasonal vegetables to eat. And think of all the grassy parks and composting sites!

For further information: 596acres.org