Sunday, September 15, 2013

EMERGENT comes together: A new group bringing young horticultural professionals together

After the issue of Organic Gardening magazine (that had me in it!) came out, a group was formed on Facebook to help connect young horticultural professionals online and the name "EMERGENT" was introduced and we've begun to explore who we are, what we can do, what we're promoting, and also, "why?"

There have been  multiple discussions online via Google Chats, Facebook Messenger and texts and we've all been suggesting that we have a get together in person should the right opportunity present itself.

So, the Farwest Show in Portland, OR was right around the corner. This industry trade show brings in people from across the US for meetings, seminars, and the ever popular "schmooze fest"! Realizing that a handful of people would be there, we started to organize an informal "meet and greet".

With plants being the common bond we all share, I immediately thought about Xera Plants's new retail site in Portland and asked if they would host us. Greg and Paul warmly welcomed our group and had our informal gathering!

There were many familiar faces and a few I met for the very first time in person that I met via Facebook. Western Washington was well represented with my buddies Matthew Berberich, Preston Pew, Justin Galicic, and Meagan McManus Haskins.
Matt, Justin and fellow plantsman Erik Peterson from Oregon
Kelly on the right and Jared on the left checking out succulents at Xera
Also in attendance is the remarkable Kelly Norris who is the Horticulural Manager at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden in Iowa. He is a very well known speaker, published author (which reminds me, I need to plant my Bearded Irises very soon!) and such an advocate of the up and coming generation of gardeners. Then there's Jared Barnes, who we've dubbed "The Reverend Doctor Barnes", that I finally had the great pleasure of meeting in person. This is a young man studying floriculture at North Carolina State University and is quite a character! Super nice guy, too!

Check Jared out as "SuperSeed!"  Now, you'll have to think back to your basic biology/botany classes to find it really funny, but WOW, what a courageous and enthusiastic guy!

Another young "EMERGENT" I met and actually helped me get this meeting together is a young lady named Crystal Johnson-Cady from Salem, OR. She was a busy woman coordinating speakers for the Farwest Show for the Oregon Association of Nurseries and is a proud graduate of Oregon State University studying botany and plant pathology. Her venture, Sunflower Acres Farm and Garden, is shaping up to be another busy, but exciting endeavor!

It was incredible meeting everyone this this group. I gave a little speech and acknowledged just how incredible it was to be a part of such a talented and hard working group. Each person had their own specialties, their own personalities, and I mentioned just how important their contributions are to the future of our industry. I'm so glad that I'm not alone in my aspirations.

This was just a small gathering of who's out there as there are many more across the nation, but I hope these types of gatherings continue to occur in all the different regions of not just the nation, but also around the world. We have the technology and resources to send out information much quicker than ever before and it's vital that these meet-and-greets IN PERSON events are held.  It's great to know who's who, who specializes in what and also just learn from on another to keep us driven and motivated!



  1. HAHA! I never knew this post existed! Thanks for the shout out :-)

    My name is Kenneth W. Higby Sr. and I am a Future Farmer of America. I am also a disabled vet I have started a kickstarter project to put unemployed disabled members of our community to work by designing and building a new gardening product called the UPT-21 Urban Planting Table for the 21st century. I would invite you and all your network friends to come and see our website and kickstarter project it will be a new look into urban planting and help the Wounded Warior project out as well. There is the website.

    Thank you and hope to see you all in the future of gardening.
    ken Higby Sr.