Proven Winners has announced the launch of Club Sprout, which offers fun, educational, age appropriate projects for elementary school children. The program will be adding many new projects over the spring and summer, and parents can check the link below for updated activities. Each project has an informative handout for a garden-centric activity for kids to enjoy. Club Spout also includes links to videos, DIY ideas from its Proven Beauty website, and more information for parents. Proven Winners’ goal is to create projects around plants and materials that customers can find at their local garden center and help their children sprout a love of gardening.
Dramm is pleased to announce the addition of Travis Ouradnik and Dan Teeters to our DRAMMwater Team. These new hires reflect the continued growth and success of the DRAMMwater business unit at Dramm.
Ouradnik joins Dramm after working in process design engineering for fertilizer equipment manufacturer FEECO and for the City of Manitowoc. He brings his experience in process flow and mechanical systems to design team and will be helping customers by designing complete water management systems. Ouradnik will also be part of DRAMMwater's customer support and installation team.
Teeters comes to Dramm with experience in retail store design and project- management. As the new DRAMMwater Project Manager, Teeters will oversee the delivery and installation phase of water management projects. He will work with customers, design team, vendors, manufacturing and installation support teams.
The University Philanthropic Venture Fund, managed by the institution's IU Ventures, is investing $250,000 in the Bee Corp., "an Indiana agtech startup developing solutions for growers and beekeepers who rely on commercial pollination," according to an IU press release issued today. "The company uses infrared cameras that attach to a smartphone to provide a noninvasive look at the health of the hive."
The funds were promised but not transacted before Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a statewide stay-at-home order, according to information in the release: "Despite mounting economic uncertainty, IU Ventures is proceeding with this and three other approved investment transactions, demonstrating the group's commitment to supporting Hoosier entrepreneurs in this time of heightened need."
To read the entire press release, click here.
AmericanHort issued the following statement on April 22, confirming the first case of Ralstonia in a U.S. greenhouse since 2004:
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced on April 21 that it has confirmed the detection of Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2 (RSr3b2) in a single variety of geranium plants located in a Michigan greenhouse. This particular type of Ralstonia, a bacterial plant pathogen, can cause a wilt disease in several important agricultural crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. This is the first confirmed case of RSr3b2 in a U.S. greenhouse since 2004.
In a stakeholder notice, APHIS stated the agency has taken immediate action to contain and eradicate the disease from the Michigan facility. The infected plants, again of a single variety, came from a propagation greenhouse in Guatemala. The importer immediately stopped shipments of geranium plants to the United States upon confirmation of the detection. They also provided a list of 288 greenhouses in 39 states that received geranium cuttings from the Guatemala facility.
Under an APHIS response plan, Federal and State plant health officials are currently visiting the 288 greenhouse locations. They will inspect, isolate, and destroy all Fantasia ‘Pink Flare’ geranium plants and comingled and exposed host and non-host plants. They will also isolate, sample, and destroy other geranium varieties and comingled and exposed host and non-host plants if the other geraniums test positive for RSr3b2. After the plants are destroyed, the greenhouses will be cleaned according to sanitation protocols to clear the facility of the pathogen."
According to a press release, the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA), five landscaping, lawn care and garden center businesses, and an employee, say they have been harmed by the state's stay-at-home order, and have filed a class-action lawsuit on April 17 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The lawsuit adds to a growing number of suits filed around the State related to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-42. The businesses ask the Court for an emergency order allowing them to immediately resume services and sales.
“While we fully support the governor’s focus on keeping people safe, ours is an outdoor industry and one that can get Michiganders back to work safely,” said Amy Upton, MNLA’s executive director. “Every state in the nation except Michigan recognizes our ability to work safely and allows our industry to stay open. The other states’ approach makes sense. It’s easy to mow the lawn, trim trees, install plantings, and sell plants and seeds for curbside pickup without person-to-person contact. We can keep workers employed without increasing the public-health risk.”
In addition to easily practicing social distancing, the lawn, landscape, and retail-garden-center industry plays an important public health role, Upton said. “We are a family’s frontline defense against the infestation of fleas, spiders, ticks and mosquitoes that can spread dangerous diseases such as Lyme, Canine Heart worm, West Nile virus, Zika virus, yellow fever and encephalitis. At a time when our healthcare providers are taxed with serious cases, we help prevent needless additional cases coming to them.”
Attorney John Bursch, of Bursch Law PLLC, filed the suit on behalf of MNLA and the other plaintiffs.
“Public health protections need to be balanced by common sense,” Bursch said. “The Governor’s order already allows public employees to mow and trim public parks, and homeowners can do the same in their backyards. But an elderly or infirm homeowner cannot hire someone to do this work for them, even if they need it. Yet local governments are now giving citations to such homeowners, calling their overlength grass a public nuisance. What’s more, hundreds of businesses face permanent closure. This has got to stop.”
As the lawsuit explains, the Executive Order’s ban on sales by retail garden centers are equally difficult to understand. Property owners can order plants and seeds online and have them delivered to their home. But the Order prevents brick-and-mortar retail garden centers from selling the exact same products, even for curbside pickup. At the same time, the Order apparently allows curbside pickup of fast food, alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.
The plaintiffs’ accompanying emergency motion — for an order allowing them to reopen — explains that the Order’s application to businesses in the landscaping, lawn-care, and retail-garden-center industry violates the Commerce Clause and Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit also requests class-action status and damages on behalf of every business in Michigan affected by the shutdown.