February 15, 2009
By Denis Flanagan and Lee Ann Knudsen  

We had a chance to talk with many LO members at Congress, and are delighted to hear about your enthusiasm for the new Green for Life program! We answered questions about what Green for Life is, and how members can use it in their businesses.   

What is Green for Life? This is the new, fresh, ‘consumer’ face of LO that members can use in all public settings. Our goal is to connect the public to LO professionals from all sector groups, as well as to inspire consumers to spend more time outdoors. The program will centre around a consumer website — www.landscapeontario.com — which is getting a major overhaul in time for spring. LO will also offer members truck decals, store signs and banners, artwork and pre-done public relations support to help with your business. Major public relations efforts to all of the Ontario media will help launch the program, but its success will rest with how all LO members support and use the images and artwork in their day-to day-business.  

You can view a great YouTube segment on Green for Life by visiting www.youtube.com, and searching for “Landscape Ontario Green for Life.”   

One member really touched us with his story. We asked Percy Ford-Smith of Dufferin Aggregates for his reaction to Green for Life and our new public logo, and he immediately said, “It’s Rachel!” Ford-Smith and his company had contributed to the Toronto Chapter’s recent volunteer project to build a butterfly garden for Rachel, a charming little girl who had lost an eye to cancer. Rachel’s dream was realized through the chapter’s efforts and the Make a Wish Foundation.  

From the heart  

Ford-Smith’s regard for Rachel and her family is clearly far more than an acquaintance made through a volunteer project. He understands that the friendships and love that grew out of the garden are the true gifts, received by both Rachel and the volunteers. He remains a friend of Rachel and her mother, and has just arranged for them to receive tickets to the opening night gala at Canada Blooms — an event he calls the night Cinderella comes home.  

Ford-Smith has been a long-time supporter of horticulture. Dufferin Aggregates joined LO 18 years ago, per his recommendation, at a time when no other aggregate company was interested in the landscape industry. Ford-Smith helped landscape contractors understand aggregates better by offering specialized training opportunities in a lab setting. The Green for Life program is all about connecting the joys of benefits of horticulture with people, and it was great seeing Ford-Smith see the connection immediately, with sincere excitement.   

Building momentum  

We had many more positive comments about Green for Life at Congress. Most members were very enthusiastic and excited about the new look and told us how they planned to incorporate the program into their existing marketing outreach. A number of non-member companies told us that with LO now helping with marketing support, they will join. We shot video in the booth of members talking about the program that will be used in the website as part of the push into making LO members more visible on YouTube and other new media platforms. The new site will not only have thousands of images to inspire consumers, but links to podcasts and YouTube segments to help deliver the LO messages in all formats.  Let us know if you have podcasts, or video that you would like posted!

Caption: Congress attendees were interviewed about their enthusiasm for the green industry. Video clips are part of the content scheduled for the new landscapeontario.com.