A.M.A. Horticulture Inc. has been attending Cultivate (and its previous iteration, Ohio Short Course) for more than 25 years. While their booth, team and horticultural solutions have evolved along with the industry, their mission at Cultivate has remained the same: connect, learn and share.
Joining the A.M.A. contingent this year was the newest team member, Alex Frew, who recently graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Since late 2018, Alex has been serving customers, sharing her expertise and learning the business of horticulture.
“I’ve always been interested in plant genetics and research, knowing that we can leverage science to help growers be better stewards of their plants,” said Alex. “A.M.A. encourages innovative, solution-oriented thinking, and it was great to be able to join the team at Cultivate this year to expand my knowledge.”
Cultivate ’19 was Alex’s first big horticulture trade show since graduating university. As a young horticulture professional and a new attendee, we wanted to hear her fresh perspective on the show.
What stood out for you at Cultivate ’19?
"I am constantly amazed by the innovation and industriousness of growers. If you’re outside the industry, you might think there’s only one way to grow a tree, for example. In reality, growers are trying all kinds of new things to perfect the craft. At the show, you can see all these different techniques in one room and that’s really inspiring.
Some things that really stood out were the rows and rows of new varieties and the new robotics technologies coming onto the market – especially the latest robotic sticking machines! As someone who loves science, I’m excited to see what we can do with automation and robotics."
In your opinion, what is the advantage of attending a show like this?
"It’s an important opportunity to see what’s up and coming in virtually every sub-sector of the horticulture industry: trees, fruit, flowers, hydroponics, propagation – you name it. For me personally, it was a good chance to find out where the industry is headed and where the hot markets are going to be.
I think the other big advantage is networking. It’s great to see our customers and spend time learning about what they’re growing, what they need and what challenges are they’re facing. The phone and photos have their limitations, so it’s great to have these discussions face to face. And as a new team member, it was really helpful to finally put faces to names!"
Coming away from the show, what advice would you give to other young horticulture professionals?
"Don’t be afraid to share your ideas because they could help your organization move in new directions or attract new audiences.
For example, during the show we met with a customer whose daughter is coming into the family business. She was full of exciting ideas to attract new people to their garden centre – a flower wall, a café – and a lot of her inspiration was coming from things she had seen on Instagram or Pinterest.
My advice is to take yourself seriously as someone who can contribute to cultivating the future of horticulture, because you can!"