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New UF/IFAS video series shows how to increase sustainability in plant nurseries

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Environment, Extension, IFAS, RECs

knox_chappell

Click here for image. Caption at bottom.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Many plant nurseries in Florida have adopted sustainable practices, and the University of Florida is looking to help even more do so with a new video series.

The series, titled Moving Nurseries Toward Sustainability, contains nine videos documenting sustainable practices that can be economically effective and environmentally friendly for nurseries.

Using interviews with nursery growers from Florida and Georgia, the videos show real-life examples of how growers have reduced water use, cut fertilizer applications, minimized runoff, found ways to reuse plastic containers and saved on energy costs by using conservation techniques.

The project was initiated by Gary Knox, a professor and environmental horticulture extension specialist based at UF’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“We developed this project to demonstrate to nursery producers that a wide array of sustainable practices can be used in nurseries, and almost all of these have economic as well as environmental benefits,” Knox said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Florida had more than 4,700 commercial nursery and greenhouse farms in 2007; however, this number has probably been reduced by 30 to 40 percent since the economic downturn, he said.

Total sales for the wholesale nursery industry in Florida were approximately $4.27 billion in 2010.

The videos are a partnership between UF, which led the effort, the University of Georgia and Florida A&M University. They were funded by the USDA Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grants and education program.

The videos can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0F03B997B5E7D5D7.

For more information on the project, visit the website at http://snpp.caes.uga.edu/.

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Contacts:

Writer: Robert H. Wells, 352-273-3569; rhwells@ufl.edu

Source: Gary Knox, 850-875-7162; gwknox@ufl.edu

Caption: Gary Knox, a UF/IFAS a professor and environmental horticulture extension specialist, and Matthew Chappell, an assistant professor in horticulture at the University of Georgia, are shown in a video clip from a new video series titled Moving Nurseries Toward Sustainability.

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