Greenhouse Canada

INDUSTRY NEWS: December 2008

November 20, 2008  By Greenhouse Canada

Tournament returns
The fourth annual Engage Agro Hockey Tournament will be held Jan. 16 at the Grimsby (Ontario) Community Centre, with proceeds to the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre. Tahe tournament begins at 11 a.m. and concludes with a banquet. Teams will play at least three games. For more information, contact convenor Sean Valk at 905-979-1035 or Players are asked to confirm by Dec. 15 at the latest.

hannahMathers joins Vineland Centre
Dr. Hannah Mathers has been appointed a Senior Research Fellow at the Vineland Research and Innovations Centre, an independent, not-for-profit corporation established to create a world-class hub for horticultural science and innovation in Ontario.

Dr. Mathers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science at The Ohio State University (OSU). She is also the State Extension Specialist in Nursery and Landscape Crops and co-chair of the OSU Nursery Short Course program.
As a Senior Research Fellow at Vineland, Dr. Mathers will focus on research initiatives, industry projects and outreach activities to assist the Ontario nursery and landscape industry. Born and raised in Exeter, Ont., Dr. Mathers received her Forest Technician’s Diploma at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ont. She earned an Associate Diploma in Agriculture at the University of Guelph, a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., a Master of Science degree in Horticulture at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, and a PhD in Horticulture from Michigan State University.

Winning team members included (standing) Burt Debolster, Kevin Vanberkel and Blake Meyers, and Rob Debolster in front.

SRL golf charity tourney results
The Royal Niagara Golf Course in Niagara-on-the Lake was the site of this year’s seventh annual Specialties Robert Legault Charity Golf Tournament.
The event was a huge success and helped raise over $10,000. The money helps support both the Christian Schools Foundation of the Niagara Region and the Warehouse of Hope. The School Foundation represents privately owned institutions and has always been a big part of the grower community in southern Ontario. The Warehouse of Hope is a non-profit organization operated by the vanderZalm family and local volunteers, providing basic necessities to the underprivileged in overseas countries.

The event included many local growers and industry suppliers.

The Specialties Robert Legault team thanks everyone for their support, and is looking forward to another successful tournament next year.

Robert Berendes, head of business development at Syngenta.
photo courtesy syngenta

Syngenta to acquire
Goldsmith Seeds

Syngenta has signed an agreement to acquire Goldsmith Seeds, Inc., an industry leading breeder and producer of flower seeds, for $74 million, on a cash and debt-free basis. Goldsmith breeds, produces and sells a broad range of pot and bedding products, including major crops such as cyclamen, impatiens
and petunia.

“This acquisition is a perfect strategic fit with Syngenta Flowers and it significantly increases our proprietary flower seed portfolio,” says Robert Berendes, head of business development at Syngenta. “The Goldsmith family has built up a world-class breeding company with an outstanding reputation that is known for its consistent quality. This acquisition further strengthens our leadership position in the global flowers industry.”

Syngenta will maintain the Goldsmith brand in the market under the Syngenta Flowers umbrella.

“We are very excited about joining Syngenta,” says Joel Goldsmith, president of Goldsmith Seeds Inc. “The agreement will secure a robust future for Goldsmith products and employees as well as growth opportunities in a changing, consolidating

Goldsmith Seeds has been headquartered in Gilroy, California, since its inception in 1962. The business is owned and operated by the Goldsmith family, and has some 1,500 employees. The company has breeding and production facilities in Gilroy, as well as production facilities in Guatemala. Reported sales in 2007-08 were $50 million.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2008, pending regulatory approvals.

Dr. Mory Ghomshei is heading the CERM3 geothermal project with Fairfield Propagators.
Photo courtesy UBC
John Sommer, who is the owner of Fairfeld Propagators, with Dr. Mory Ghomshei.
Photo courtesy UBC

Studying geothermal heat for greenhouses

A sampling of Fairfield cut flowers, ready for market.
Photo courtesy UBC
An aerial view of Fairfield Propagators, the largest lily and chrysanthemum grower in B.C.

UBC’s Centre for Environmental Research in Minerals, Metals and Materials (CERM3) has been selected as one of 15 innovative clean energy projects in British Columbia to receive funding from the province’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund.

CERM3 researchers, led by Dr. Mory Ghomshei, adjunct professor of Earth Energy Systems, will partner with Fairfield Propagators Limited in Chilliwack, the largest lily and chrysanthemum grower in B.C. They will create a demonstration low-temperature geothermal energy system to heat and cool a 12-acre greenhouse facility.

The project is expected to save the company over $300,000 per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2,500 tonnes annually. The collaboration with Fairfield Propagators presents UBC with a unique opportunity to develop a facility to demonstrate all types of geothermal energy systems to the public and other potential users.

In addition to this project, CERM3 has successfully installed a geothermal system at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver and is working on additional geothermal system projects in B.C. and throughout Canada.

Grodan awarded European Ecolabelgrodan
Grodan, supplier of innovative substrate solutions for the greenhouse industry, is the first substrate producer to be  awarded the European Ecolabel: the environmental quality mark of the European Union for non-food products and services.

“The fact that Grodan’s blocks and slabs have been awarded this quality mark once again demonstrates that the company considers sustainable business practices to be very important and that its substrate solutions comply with the most stringent environmental criteria,” noted a company news release. “These certified products can be recognized by the ‘EU flower’ logo.”

The European Ecolabel was formed by the European Union in 1992 to encourage manufacturers to produce environmentally friendly products and to enable buyers to make conscious and reliable decisions in terms of the environment. To that end, the organization developed a broad range of criteria for many products and services. The criteria for growing media were recently revised and expanded so they now also apply to products based on inorganic material such as mineral wool.
The criteria that apply to the origin of mineral ingredients are strict. For example, they may not come from nature reserves or protected areas. Additional aspects considered include energy and water conservation and the reduction of soil, air and water contamination during production. The recycling of inorganic growing media is also considered.

In addition to environmental criteria, the products also have to comply with quality criteria.

Maurice Husson, managing director of the Grodan Group, is proud of the certification of Grodan’s products. “For years now, we have focused on three core themes in order to achieve optimum results: People, Planet and Profit. In other words, we aim to run our company in such a way that we can balance business interests with the interests of people and the environment. Everything we do is based on this. As a result, we have succeeded in obtaining a series of certifications over the years, including ISO 14001, ISO 9001:2000 and the Dutch KIWA product certificate. In my view, the European Ecolabel is a confirmation of how we do business.”

pw_onlineProven Beauty™ debuts on the Web
Proven Winners® has launched Proven Beauty™, a new online magazine in an effort to further reach current and future gardeners. Proven Beauty is geared to reach those using the Internet for everything from reading to research. This publication can be found at

“We are extremely committed to reaching the end consumer, whether it be an 18-year-old or a 60-year-old gardener,” said director of marketing Marshall Dirks. “This tool was created to reach consumers of all ages, and younger consumers in particular, by providing an insightful online publication about gardening to enhance the readers’ experience, but with an earth-friendly, paperless approach.”

The publication is free. The articles in the first edition include “Water Wisely,” “Make it Easy,” “Share your Garden with Butterflies,” and an excellent Q & A feature with plant expert P. Allen Smith.

Green themes at LO’s Congress
Green themes will be prominent during next month’s Landscape Ontario “Congress.” In addition to a new Green Forum feature, various “green” seminars will highlight the three-day horticultural lawn and garden trade show taking place from Jan. 6-8 at the Toronto Congress Centre.

For Congress 2009, Landscape Ontario has joined forces with Communities in Bloom, Project EverGreen and the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association to “Go Green Today.”

In addition to the three show days, “Warm-Up Monday” is a full day of pre-conference specialist symposiums, education and social programs.

Other show highlights include feature gardens designed by horticultural students, the New Product Showcase, and Landscape Ontario’s Awards of Excellence Gala.

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