Director’s Message – April 2015

Spring is really and truly finally here; this is not a drill.

It seems that everybody is taking a cue from the bees and is very busy. Farmers are in the fields, though they’ve been working for months, and amateur growers like me are starting to shake off the long winter’s slumber and look for those work gloves we haven’t used in months. Now, as a very (very) amateur grower, I’ve always felt a matter of pride taking something like a tomato plant from seed to harvest. It’s a good feeling, especially if you are “winging it” like I often do. However, many of us don’t have the time to put in to bring those seeds to life (myself included this year). Thankfully, when it comes to shrubs, vegetables, flowers, and other beautiful plants, we have a myriad of local options to save you that work.

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering buying local agriculture but, taken as a whole, floriculture, horticulture, nurseries, sod and greenhouses account for 19% of our region’s $157 million plus agricultural market value based on the most recent federal agricultural census. According to the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association, Massachusetts’ environmental horticulture industry “contributes an estimated $2.6 billion to the Massachusetts economy, half of which is in plant production and sales”. That’s a lot of seedlings, a lot of revenue, and a lot of local people employed.
After a rough winter with many operations sustaining more than the usual storm-related damages, nurseries around the region are working hard to provide the supply of trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetable plants we’ve all come to love. Economics aside, part of the buy local equation is reducing the carbon footprint caused by transportation. Why buy a basil plant trucked in from south of the Mason-Dixon Line when you can get one from Bristol, Plymouth or Norfolk county? If you can pass on the out-of-state products dominating box stores in favor of locally-owned and operated retailers and wholesalers, please do so. Help complete the “Buy Local” circle and support our local growers.

Visit our online guide for resources to find local operations that can meet your needs. Also, check out the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscaping Association’s website. Thanks, and happy planting!

-Jason Wentworth

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