“This is the premier annual event for Rhode Island’s green industries, and it helps to demonstrate how important this industry is to the Rhode Island economy,” said Shannon Brawley, executive director of the association. According to a 2012 economic impact study, the industry employs more than 13,000 people in Rhode Island and produces about $1.78 billion in annual revenues.
“RINLA members also play a significant role in greening our state’s infrastructure and protecting its farmland and open space, and that’s going to provide economic and social and environmental benefits like clean air and a better quality of life,” Brawley added.
The winter meeting is open to student and professional landscapers and nursery workers interested in learning the latest strategies for pest management, protecting trees in storms, small business management, and other useful information. Speakers include URI faculty and outreach specialists, as well as representatives of universities, nurseries and agencies throughout New England.
Keynote speaker George Jacobson, the state climatologist of Maine and a professor emeritus of biology at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, will address the meeting on Jan. 16 at 10:30 a.m. about the likely effect of climate change on the green industries in New England and steps that can be taken to prepare for these changes.
In addition, the association will present its Award of Merit, Past-President’s Award, and name its Young Nursery Person of the Year.
Throughout the two-day event will be a trade show of exhibitors representing vendors and non-profit groups that play a critical role in the green industry in southern New England, including Central Nurseries, Sodco, Unilock, Bobcat, the Rhode Island Farm Bureau, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among many others.
Major sponsors of the program are John T. Howard Agency/Farm Family Insurance Co., Farm Credit East, Helena Chemical Co., and Bartlett Tree Experts.
The Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association is the leading horticultural, agricultural and landscape business association in the state. Its members include nurseries, landscape contractors, arborists, irrigation specialists, masons, garden centers, turf farms, landscape architects, landscape designers, vegetable growers, cut flower growers, suppliers and allied businesses. The association has a long history of partnering with URI in education, training and research that supports the green industries in Rhode Island.