Virginia examines the future of agriculture


The statewide association tasked with keeping Virginia green and growing is holding its annual Field Day event at Shade Tree Farms in Upperville on August 20. The Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association Field Day gathers hundreds of Virginia certified horticulturalists, VNLA members, industry leaders, and horticultural experts to discuss, celebrate and predict the future of horticulture in Virginia.

“It’s vital to the health of Virginia’s green space that we organize this Field Day to encourage discussion between industry leaders and horticultural scientists,” comments Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association executive director Jeff Miller. “The health and well-being of Virginia’s landscapes are more delicate than one may think. It is the VNLA’s role to bring these groups together to ensure our industry is encouraging best practices to ensure healthy and robust Virginia landscapes.”

Field Day features tours and digging big trees at Shade Tree Farm. Referred to as the “Where the Trees Live” the 100-acre nursery grows tens of thousands of tree and operates one of the largest fleets of truck mounted spades in the nation.

Expert presentations begin at 9am. with a discussion of “Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes” lead by Thomas Rainer. A registered landscape architect, teacher, and writer from northern Virginia, he is also a passionate advocate for an ecologically expressive design aesthetic that does not imitate nature, but interprets it.

Following will be “How to Beat the Low-Bid Competition” by Marcus VandeVliet, who has more than 25 years of real world experience as an entrepreneur, business executive and consultant. He was president of a residential design-build firm, improving profitability from 6% to 19% while maintaining the company’s $7 million in revenues.

The first afternoon session will be on the latest on “Bees and Pollinators, Immigration and water issues affection the green industry now, presented by Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort’s senior legislative director and one of the most highly respected and knowledgeable individuals representing the green industry in Washington, DC.

Then, the new director of the U.S. National Arboretum, Dr. Richard Olsen, will introduce “Trees for the Future” highlighting current research including recent introductions from breeding programs, novel hybrids and forms currently under evaluation.

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