American Floral Endowment Update: Next Webinar, New Memorial Fund, and New Ambassadors Named

AFE Ambassadors Miller, LarimerThe next American Floral Endowment (AFE) Grow Pro webinar takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 19, with a focus on hydroponics for floriculture production. Most commercial cut flower production in the U.S. occurs in hydroponic or soilless production systems.

During the webinar, Dr. Chris Currey of Iowa State University will provide an overview of hydroponics systems and substrates commonly used, as well as nutrient, irrigation, and crop considerations. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Overview of hydroponic systems and substrates available for floriculture production
  • Benefits of hydroponic systems in floriculture production
  • Irrigation for hydroponic substrates
  • Nutrient delivery
  • Crops that work well in hydroponic systems.

Click here to register for the webinar.

Two Industry Leaders Recognized with AFE’s New Ambassador Award

AFE has announced the recipients of its inaugural Ambassador Awards. The AFE Ambassador Award recognizes an individual, organization, or institution in the floral community for their exceptional leadership, advocacy, and devoted service to the Endowment’s mission. By acting as an ambassador and champion of AFE, the recipient reinforces the Endowment’s advancements in floriculture research, education, and innovation. The award is chosen through a nomination process by AFE’s Board of Trustees.

The recipients were announced during AFE’s Friends of Floral Annual Donor Event and Reception held in conjunction with the Society of American Florists’ 2023 Annual Convention in Phoenix. The first-ever recipients of this award, Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Company, and Dwight Larimer, formerly of Smithers-Oasis/Design Master, were both surprised with the recognition and were honored for their advocacy, support, and leadership through their involvement with the Endowment. They have gone above and beyond to promote AFE’s programs and resources.

Keep Pests Off Your Plants: Four Steps to Stay in Control of Indoor Crops

Dr. Marvin Miller has nearly 40 years of industry service as Market Research Manager for Ball Horticultural Company. He has been with the company since 1983. He has a B.S. in Horticulture and a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Food and Resource Economics, with a major in Agricultural Marketing from the University of Florida. The focus of his research efforts involves the changing structure, conduct, and performance of the horticulture industry.

Through AFE, Miller is a past Trustee who served multiple terms, continued as an Emeritus member, and still sits on the Research Committee. He provides expertise in research for both AFE directly and the Floriculture Nursery and Research Initiative (FNRI) projects, which the Endowment provides review and recommendations on.

Through his long-term involvement with AFE’s Board and Committees, Miller has brought a wealth of knowledge, especially highlighting his invaluable expertise in research and offering his knowledge bank of information on industry statistics and trends.

As an ambassador, Miller has shared the impactful initiatives of the Endowment across his extensive peer network, leading to a broader recognition of AFE, and helping to build new and collaborative relationships to support research and programs. He has introduced hundreds of people to AFE’s work, leveraging his connections across both academia and industry.

Dwight Larimer has been an incredible ambassador to AFE for more than a decade. With his 40+ years of industry service, he has leveraged his knowledge and industry connections to support the industry and AFE. In addition to his terms as a Trustee, Larimer also served as AFE’s Chairman of the Board from 2016-2018. Additionally, and throughout his Board service, he served on AFE’s Education, Floral Marketing Fund (FMF), and PR/Development Committees – serving as Chair for both Education and FMF.

With a passion for education and young professionals, Larimer helped create AFE’s Young Professionals Council in 2015, serving as the Board Liaison to the group, and developing programs to support their professional development. Currently, he still serves as Chair of AFE’s Vic & Margaret Ball Internship Committee, a program that places undergraduate students in three, four, or six-month internships in floriculture production.

Larimer’s career has been fully devoted to the floral industry. For nearly 40 years, Larimer was the President of Design Master Color Tool Inc. offering color sprays and accessory products for floral and decorative projects. In 2021, Design Master joined the Smithers-Oasis brand, and in 2022, he retired.

Dwight is an esteemed colleague, dedicated benefactor, and member of the Consecutive Giving Society with 16 years of consecutive giving.

Andy Mast in PoinsettiasMemorial Tribute Established in Memory of Andy Mast

A memorial tribute has been established in memory of Andy C. Mast through AFE by the Mast Family and friends at Ednie Flower Bulb Company, Fredon, NJ. Andy Mast, owner of Andy Mast Greenhouses and industry pioneer, passed away on July 8, 2023, at the age of 76.

Andy was born to Neal and Jacoba Mast in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in September of 1946. He emigrated with his family two years later, settling in Grand Rapids, MI. He attended West Side Christian School and Grand Rapids Christian High, graduating in 1964. He furthered his education at Michigan State University, completing their horticultural program.

Andy worked in partnership with his father, Neal, until branching out on his own in 1975 to become the owner of Andy Mast Greenhouses. He grew the business from the original site in Walker to include two additional sites over the years in Muskegon and Holland. His contributions to the greenhouse industry run deep.

In efforts to improve the quality of crops, Andy pioneered with Michigan State University using practical growing techniques to control the height of crops. So successful in implementation, the DIF technique is currently utilized around the world.

Never shy to try out new techniques and experiments, he partnered with MSU to continue research and advancement in floriculture for other groundbreaking successes. Andy was also active in the Floriculture community, becoming one of the original members of the Michigan Greenhouse Grower Council (MGGC). He stepped up at the state level to speak on behalf of the local greenhouse growers, advocating for improvements and understanding the challenges faced by fellow growers.

You can make a contribution to honor Andy’s legacy through the Andy Mast Memorial Tribute. Donations can be made online here.


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