Growers should ‘connect with community’
More horticultural businesses, including nurseries, should be holding “public” days to develop better relationships with their local communities, according to West Sussex Growers Association chairman Patrick Bastow.
About 6,000 people took advantage of an open day on 23 September to visit 13 nursery members
of the organisation. Growers including Brinkman’s Nurseries, Roundstone Nurseries and Yoder Toddington opened their doors to give the public the opportunity to see behind the scenes.
According to Bastow, the event had gone very well with each nursery having an average of about 400 visitors, leaving the organisers “shattered”.
Bastow explained: “There is tremendous interest in both what we do and in local produce and how it’s produced. People want to come and see what we do and how we do it.”
He said it was “absolutely crucial” to develop better connections with members of the public, not only to emphasise the importance of locally grown produce, but also to give them a better understanding of how nurseries operate. That approach could lead to fewer problems when it comes to obtaining planning permission for expansion, Bastow said.
He added: “We’re finding it harder and harder to get planning permission because we’ve got a squeeze on housing. So, hopefully, the more PR we do then the more likely it is that people are going to be understanding of our situation.”
A leaflet promoting the day was sent to 40,000 homes, as well as being posted to parish councils, local councils and MPs in an attempt to make them aware of the companies in the area and to try and garner support.
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