Originally published at GPN (Greenhouse Product News) (www.gpnmag.com) November, 2008
Altman Specialty Plants Inc., a wholesale nursery business, has completed the construction of a new, state-of-the-art greenhouse dedicated solely to research and improving the field of ornamental plant production. The research center is called the Center for Applied Horticultural Research (CfAHR).
Owners Ken and Deena Altman have long recognized that sound research improves plant production: “The inspiration for the center has come from a number of sources,” said Ken Altman, noting the Center for Applied Research that McCorkle Nursery supported as well as his experience on The American Floral Endowment board.
“At Altman Plants we have had Dr. John Erwin from the University of Minnesota helping us with our company research and here again I have seen the value that comes from having a time and place to be inquisitive,” he added. “There is no shortage of issues that need to be solved. However, the resources available are limited. The CfAHR is the Altman’s way to contribute to the solution. In the best of worlds, this will serve as a model for other nurseries to help fill the gap in resources so we can support our industry researchers.”
The CfAHR, located in the grounds of the Altman Plants facility in Vista, Calif., sits on one acre of land. It has a laboratory equipped to conduct applied plant research, a climate-controlled greenhouse with five individual rooms, shade and sun outdoor areas and a Quonset-type greenhouse. The Center has a conference room that will be available to organizations and institutions in horticulture that need a place for events. Unity of the horticultural industry will determine its ability to conquer the issues it faces. The CfAHR will provide a place for the sharing of ideas, practices and current issues in the green industry.
As a non-profit organization, the CfAHR will maintain and manage resources and facilities to carry out applied research based on growers’ and industry needs. The Center activities are overseen by a board of directors comprised of accomplished industry representatives. The center’s director, Lucia Villavicencio, coordinates project execution and everyday activities.
The CfAHR encourages the submission of ideas that could provide solutions to current horticultural issues. The ideas will be studied and projects developed to test them. The application process includes an idea submission form and, for those who can be more actively involved in implementing research, a proposal submission form. Projects need to address horticultural issues in commercial nursery and ornamental plant production. Areas of interest are: production protocols, plant breeding, pest and disease control, plant propagation and postharvest management. All research conducted at the center will be done in a sustainable manner and applying good conservational practices.
CfAHR is open to anyone interested in the green industry and its challenges. For more information visit www.cfahr.org