Dear Friends and Colleagues in Horticulture,
First and foremost, I hope that all of you and your families — no matter where in the world this letter finds you — are healthy, and dealing with this global crisis as well as can be expected. And with hope for the future.
We are all privileged to work, shoulder to shoulder, in an industry whose mission it is to bring people the sustenance and nutritional well-being that is embedded in what we do. After all, “horticulture” comes from the Roman words for “garden” and “cultivation.”
It’s a noble tradition.
In fact, the idea of controlled growing dates back to the Roman emperor Tiberius, who was able to eat a cucumber every day because his gardeners planted them in wheeled carts, which were brought into the sun daily, and taken indoors at night.
We have come a long way since then, but the principles remain unchanged: Harness the best of technology to give people — not just emperors — access to fresh fruits and vegetables in innovative ways that are proudly defiant of the seasons.
In fact, in the midst of a pandemic when we are all so focused on what we eat and the relationship between nutrition and the immune system, the role of horticulture done right is more important than ever. Whether you’re growing ornamental plants, cut flowers or produce, I know that many of you went to work every day during the lockdown, and afterward, not solely because you had to, but because you took the word “essential” to heart. We all owe you our gratitude.
At Hawthorne, we are here to support you. You, the men and women dedicated to providing the fresh and affordable fruits, vegetables and herbs the world demands, as well as the beautiful plants that enrich our living spaces in a time so many of us are stuck at home.
But that’s not all. You're also committed to meeting these soaring needs in ways that make the most of every cubic foot and square inch, so we can meet the needs of a tomorrow’s global population with an overriding ethic of sustainability.
To accomplish that requires relentless innovation, and that’s something that’s deep in our collective DNA — especially at Gavita. So let’s talk about lighting. I see a future of energy efficiency that goes deeper and further than anything the industry has seen before.
That means strides that optimize spectrum for different crops, using plant-based, genetic insights to bump yields on a crop-by-crop basis, with less environmental impact. It also requires advancing our understanding of “holistic horticulture” — the delicate dance between lighting and everything else a plant needs to thrive. Humidity, temperature, nutrition, growing media and controllers are part of an elegant and efficacious orchestration; working intimately with you, our tech support teams make that happen.
As I write this, the halfway mark of the year has recently turned. None of us could have predicted what we’ve been through, but despite everything, together we managed to produce millions of pounds of the best-grown food the planet can deliver. It’s a privilege and responsibility to have so many people rely on both of us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Chris Hagedorn, General Manager, Hawthorne Gardening Company