Friday, July 18, 2008

ANLA Leadership Meets At Short Course

This was the first time American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) held its annual leadership conference in conjunction with OFA's Short Course, providing a great opportunity for greenhouse, nursery and garden center retail leaders to network and discuss industry issues. The traditional OFA President's Reception on the opening night of the trade show was also a fundraising venue for Horticultural Research Institute (HRI), ANLA's endowment for research. Pictured from the left are OFA Executive Director John Holmes, OFA President Bobby Barnitz, ANLA President Dwight Hughes and ANLA Executive Vice President Bob Dolibois.

The most exciting news was the work being funded by HRI's Emerging Issues and Technologies Projects Fund. For two years, HRI has been working with USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist Dr. Walter Schmidt to develop the technology an manufacturing process to make plastic pots from chicken feathers instead of petroleum products. Feathers are cleaned to extract a clean source of the protein, keratin, which can be formed into composites and polymers. More than 5 billion pounds of feather waste is generated by the poultry industry each year. Since these pots are biodegradable, our industry would be able to keep both the pots and the feathers out of landfills.

HRI has invested $100,000 for three years to support this research and is looking to raise $1 million to bring these pots to market. The organization is off to a good start, with $65,000 raised at Sunday night's reception. This included a $5,000 contribution from OFA.

No comments: