Greenhouse Canada

Collaboration and comaraderie take centre stage

Highlights from the 2023 Green Industry Show and Conference in Red Deer, Alta.

January 26, 2024  By Amy Kouniakis

Keynote speaker Katie Dubow, president of the U.S. based Garden Media Group, shared her insights on the 2024 Garden Trends report at the Green Industry Show and Conference.

Balmy Red Deer, Alberta, was the backdrop for the 2023 Green Industry Show and Conference (GISC) in mid-November, that saw hundreds of growers and industry professionals gather for several days of networking, education, and camaraderie.

A bus tour, guided by Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza, kicked off the three-day event. Attendees had the unique opportunity to tour the new, state-of-the-art greenhouse of S4 Greenhouses Ltd., located just outside of Lacombe County. From S4, the tour moved on to nearby Gull Valley Greenhouses, where attendees got a glimpse of some of the greens, cucumbers and various tomato varieties grown there. 

Aspen Greenhouses, which specializes in annuals, perennials, herbs and ornamental grasses, was the final stop of the morning.A delicious lunch was served in Aspen’s storefront.


The first post-lunch stop on the tour was Blue Grass Sod Nursery and Garden Centre in Red Deer (there are two other locations in Calgary and Edmonton). Christmas was in full swing here as the staff had recently decorated dozens of Christmas trees and the multi-coloured poinsettia crop was displayed in all its glory. At the final stop of the day, Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre, guests were treated to live music, tasty snacks and local brews while soaking in the sights of this beautiful retail space.

The second day of the show got off to an inspiring start with a keynote address from Katie Dubow, president of U.S.-based Garden Media Group. Her 2024 Garden Trends Report provided food for thought with its insights on consumer trends and behaviours. 

Educational sessions continued throughout the second morning of the show with a fascinating and thoughtful presentation by agronomist Rose Seguin, from Sollum Technologies, on optimizing strawberry production with dynamic lighting. Research scientist, Travis Banks, from Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, also spoke to a captivated audience about new variety development and his organization’s push to get the best varieties into the hands of Canadian growers.

The second day of GISC also saw the opening of the tradeshow floor. It featured more than 100 exhibitors from across the green industry. Some of the biggest names in horticultural products and services were on hand to discuss the latest in services, products and innovations.

When the first day wrapped up, the way was clear for a celebratory evening at the Alberta Greenhouse Grower Association’s (AGGA) annual Garden Party.  A lovely dinner was followed by an awards presentation and some live music, courtesy the AGGA’s board members. First off, Amy Doef was announced as the recipient of the Dr. Mirza Scholarship Award, which provides $1,000 to a family of an AGGA member attending a post-secondary institution. Next, the Herb Knodel Award for outstanding service was awarded to Paul Prins, general manager of Pick N’ Pack Produce.

Cees VandenEnden, the retired owner and president of HortiSource Consulting Inc, was the recipient of the Meritorious Services Award. The evening ended after the coveted Grower of the Year was awarded to the much-deserving Caroline and Wayne Lohr of Lohr-A-Lee Greenhouses, located near Olds, Alta. 

Renowned business coach, Jacki Hart, kicked off the final day of the conference with keynote address on workplace culture and the importance of communication. Another round of educational sessions rounded out the morning of the GISC’s final day. Dr. Ken Fry, an entomologist from Olds College, provided an in-depth review of the various Thrips species found in Canada, particularly throughout the prairie provinces. Egan Davis, the Parks Operations Manager for the City of Richmond, spoke passionately, on plant communities and how they interact and adapt to their environment.

As the final day of the GISC came to a close, attendees and exhibitors wandered the trade show floor, networking and socializing. It was a fitting end to an event that facilitates and celebrates the collegiality of the green industry. The 2024 GISC is scheduled for Nov. 13-14. The location is yet to be selected.

Print this page


Stories continue below