Fruits of education editorial: September 2016

Life-long Learning
August 10, 2016
Written by
September 2016 – “The roots of education are bitter,” Aristotle once said, “but the fruit is sweet.”

It’s true that the effort and time to learn new things can be daunting, and overcoming initial confusion with new concepts can be frustrating, but he’s bang on in saying the results are well worth it.

I struggled through school. True story: my Gr. 13 classmates bought me a bottle of sparkling wine at the end of the school year in appreciation for my “efforts” to keep the math class average down. Confused? Well, the higher the monthly class average, the harder the monthly test – hence my “hero” status at year’s end.

When I began here at the magazine some 20 years ago, I was told I’d be on a continuing learning curve: the first for greenhouse horticulture, the second for magazine publishing. I had come from a newspaper background, and with no plant science background.

The magazine is a total different product than when I first arrived. We now also have the website and its daily news and features, weekly enewsletters, digital editions, archived and accessible stories, online video reports, webinars, an expanded Grower Day, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. And I’m probably missing something.

Technology changes. I haven’t received a fax in years.

“The whole purpose of education,” noted celebrated and syndicated newspaper columnist/author Sydney J. Harris, “is to turn mirrors into windows.”

That advice is golden. I’m still learning every day. “Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know,” quipped American historian Daniel J. Boorstin.

Horticulture is forever changing, and a love of lifelong learning is key. And a great way to keep updated, in addition to magazine subscriptions, ministry newsletters and regional association workshops, is by attending industry conferences.

This is the start of the season in Canada.

Things get underway with the CanWest Show (Sept. 28-29) in Abbotsford. It will be followed next month by the Canadian Greenhouse Conference (Oct. 5-6) in Niagara Falls, the Saskatchewan Green Trades Conference (Nov. 2-4) in Saskatoon, Expo FIHOQ (Nov. 16-18) in Drummondville, and the Green Industry Show and Conference in Edmonton (Nov. 17-18).

The educational programs and trade shows are major draws, but it’s the networking and socializing that complete the experience. There are dozens of take-home messages every day, and the chance to talk to specialists about the latest varieties, systems and technologies.

This year’s keynote presentation at the Canadian Greenhouse Conference by Dr. Silke Hemming will look the transformation of greenhouses from energy users to energy producers. The technologies involved are quickly evolving, led by research teams throughout the world, and most notably by Hemming and her colleagues at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

Conferences play a major role with improved farm profitability. They’re all about what’s new in the industry. They’re all about learning. They’re essential.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all,” observed legendary U.S. college basketball coach John Wooden, “that counts.”

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