Connecticut's Green Industry Is Growing
Accounts for 51% of Total Agricultural Production
(HARTFORD, CT) – Last month members of the green industry, comprised of wholesale and retail nursery, greenhouse, turfgrass and sod producers; landscape architecture, design, construction, and maintenance firms; and distributors of lawn and garden products at wholesale and retail, gathered in the Legislative Office Building to announce the findings of the report by UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy, Economic Impacts of the Connecticut Green Industry in 2017.
The major findings were impressive – from contributing $4.7 billion to the state’s economy, a 27% increase since 2012, to nursery, greenhouse, floriculture and sod production accounting for 51% of all agricultural production (measured by gross sales) in Connecticut. However, it was noted that because business activities are so diverse and widespread, the industry is often underestimated in the public eye as a driver of the economy.
The Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association (CNLA) requested and funded the study, which also reports the green industry supports 43,000 jobs in the state. CNLA President, Dustyn Nelson said, “The Green Industry Economic Impact Study is important on many fronts. It shows that our industry is growing and has great opportunities for younger generations to make a career. Legislators need to know the impact our industry has as they are creating legislation.”
Just a few weeks later, the green industry was front and center as the 39th annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show got underway in Hartford. As one of New England’s largest and most prestigious flower shows, the event featured more than one acre of gardens in full bloom, 300 exhibitors and over 80 hours of free seminars.
Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt attended the opening ceremony complete with a garland of fresh flowers and greens for the ribbon-cutting. He later commented, “The green industry accounts for 51% of total agriculture production in Connecticut. It’s hard for people to envision that, but here at the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show you can see it in action. This a great demonstration of how people can support local Connecticut Grown businesses to landscape their homes and businesses while contributing to the state’s economy.”
An array of 24 live, lush gardens were on display throughout the four-day show. Each landscape was unique and created inspiration among attendees, however, one stood out and was selected by the team of judges as Best in Show. Designed by Henry Gresczyk of Gresczyk Farms in New Hartford, CT, highlights of this display included a ’48 Ford truck filled with blooming tulips, a living roof garden, hydroponic greenhouse, chicken coop, vegetable garden and water element, all in appreciation of the earth’s beauty and remembrance of the farm’s patriarch, former Agriculture Commissioner Bruce Gresczyk. A sign outside the award-winning display summed it up best stating “the earth cares for us, so we care for the earth.”
For more information on the importance of the green industry to the state’s economy, click here to watch the briefing with the legislature’s Rural Caucus and Commissioner Hurlburt. Read the full study here.