We went to the Ohio show this year. In case you missed all the announcements, the new name of the show is Cultivate with the year attached to the end. This year it was called Cultivate ‘14. Next year it will be called Cultivate ‘15. So I guess we can start calling it the Cultivate show but I suspect most folks will just say “the Ohio show”. For the record I like the new name. The new name is the result of the newly established AmericanHort Association which is the consolidation of the OFA and ANLA.
I was initially unimpressed with the show halfway through the first day. I had walked 8 or 10 rows rather quickly and saw absolutely nothing of interest or anything that I thought was exciting or innovated. I tweeted about it and I think I made some folks mad. I was just being honest.
After that I started seeing more interesting products but overall there was not much that really stood out. Altogether, I accomplished a lot and have some new strategies to work on implementing to help us be more productive. Overall I thought Cultivate went well and was worth the time to go walk miles of aisles on my crutches.
On downside was that I felt that the show was still a regional show despite the merger with the ANLA. I was really expecting the exhibitors and show runners to step up and make it more national. While I understand that the cost of bringing in all the reps for a show is expensive, it still felt like the same mid-west show that is has always been. In one booth that I was in (it was a big exhibitor and a national brand), I had one person working the booth walk over and glance down at my badge, see I was from Arkansas and walk away with out talking to me. Fortunately, folks spoke to me in most of the booths that I stopped in but not all of them. I just think that the show needs to branch out past the mid-west in regards to the way the exhibitors treat the show. I has the potential to be more.
One thing that I think could help is more widespread representation with the AmericanHort board. The majority of the board is within spitting distance of Ohio. As long as that remains the status quo, it will probably remain a regional show despite the ANLA’s involvement.
One more thing about Cultivate. I think that the show should focus on the grower segment of the industry and try to excel in that aspect and not try to be the IGC show or retail oriented like the Texas Expo has become. Cultivate is a great place for growers to go get the information they need without having to wade past too many exhibitors focusing on IGC’s. The addition of the Retail Terrace seemed to be an effort to cater to the IGC’s that were there, and I do think that their need to be incentives that draw those attendees in. However, I think the back bone of the show should be for the grower. Just my opinion.
Here are some pictures from Cultivate ‘14. I took a lot of plant pictures.