The OAN Willamette Chapter’s recent plant sale, held in conjunction with the Oregon Ag Fest, raised more than $5,650. The proceeds will enable the chapter to continue supporting horticultural education in the Willamette Valley.
Over the past several years, the Willamette Chapter has donated in excess of $20,000 to Chemeketa Community College’s nursery and greenhouse management program. Read more about Chemeketa’s ag sciences program in the May issue of Digger magazine.
Chapter members who donated plant material to the sale include Alpha Nursery, Arbor Grove Nursery, Brentano’s Tree Farm, Bountiful Farms, Cam’s Willamette Nursery, Fleming Nursery Sales, Holden Wholesale Growers, Kraemer’s Nursery, Margie’s Farm and Garden, McKinnon Nursery, Harold Miller Landscape Nursery, Oregon Blueberry Farms and Nursery, St. Christopher Nursery, Scheidler Family Nursery, Tree Frog Nursery, Van’s Nursery, Dave Wall Nursery, Woodburn Nursery & Azaleas, and Youngblood Nursery.
Students from Gervais High School’s Future Farmers of America Chapter volunteered their time at the event and got firsthand experience in the presentation and sale of plant materials.
“They stockpiled and marked purchased plants outside the booth so customers could enjoy Ag Fest, and they delivered and loaded the plants at curbside when the buyers were ready to go home,” said Val Tancredi, Willamette Chapter president. “The students also helped keep the floors swept clean, watered and rearranged the remaining plants so the display stayed looking fresh. It’s great exposure for them to the horticultural industry.”
Providing additional sales help was Brenda Knobloch, garden coordinator for the Salem-Keizer School Foundation. Knobloch teaches elementary, middle and high school students how to develop and maintain vegetable, greenhouse and landscape projects. Her goal is to instill an appreciation of horticulture to balance the educational experience.
Other volunteers included Kyle Fessler, Denece Messenger, David Malcolm, Janet Poot and her son Dakota, Bradley Weeks and Chris Fox from Crop Production Services, Val and Joanne Tancredi, as well asRobert and Anneke Van Klaveren, along with their sons Eric, Matt and Luke.
The plant sale was held at the 28th annual Oregon Ag Fest, which took place this past April 25–26 in Salem. This year’s festival saw record crowds, with 20,145 people — a 15 percent jump over last year — attending the two-day celebration of Oregon’s agricultural community. The festival also raised record funds — more than $82,000 in cash donations and over $32,000 in-kind donations.
“One of the coolest things about participating in Ag Fest for 15 years is that we have the same customers come back each year to purchase plants not only for the great plants but because they believe in supporting the chapter’s educational efforts,” Tancredi said.
As in previous years, the Willamette Chapter contracted with horticulture students at Chemeketa Community College to produce hanging flower baskets sold at the plant sale.