Water, water everywhere…

Departments - Editor’s Note

July 21, 2014

Karen Varga

It doesn’t get more local than water. If your city don’t have a regular and reliable source of water, you will feel the effects, even if the neighboring town is doing just fine. Stuart Cofer of Cofer’s Home & Garden Showplace knows a thing or two about that. His garden center is located in Athens, Ga., a town that is located in the smallest county in the state, and because of the topography, it does not have an adequate natural water source.

And in the process of doing some background research for this month’s cover story, I found that according to a Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences study at the University of Colorado-Boulder (http://bit.ly/SvU6qi), my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio’s watershed is “moderately stressed,” even though there hasn’t been much talk about it here. In fact, I don’t think it’s on most people’s minds, as we’re right on Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes that together constitute about 21 percent of the world's supply of surface fresh water, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But it’s happening in many places, and it will have a direct impact on your bottom line. The good news is you can still find a way to thrive (not just survive) through the challenges that water shortages bring. In this month’s cover story, starting on page 22, we share how Cofer’s garden center found its way out of the last drought period and recession in Georgia, and additional insights from other industry members facing similar situations.

We'll be taking a more in-depth look at some drought-tolerant plants in an upcoming issue, but we've highlighted a few on page 26.

Speaking of local, we’ve got a couple of articles for you with some ideas for taking advantage of consumers’ desire to shop local. On page 30, Leslie Halleck breaks down some of the ways you can collaborate with other businesses in the area for mutual benefit. Kevin Waters of the United Kingdom rings in with his “across the pond” perspective on local, and we take a look at the Made in the USA trend starting on page 36.

In addition, this month we debut a new section called Emerging Leaders. We bring you five green industry professionals who are already making a name for themselves and are poised to continue rising in the ranks in the future. Learn more about them starting on page 41.

Happy summer!