The Nursery & Landscape Association Executives of North America (NLAE) has launched a one-stop tool for green industry businesses to see how operations and shipments to and within various North American states and territories are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Agriculture is essential, and nurseries are a part of agriculture,” Margaret McGuire-Schoeff, executive director of NLAE, said. “However, each state and each territory can have its own rules about what is deemed essential and what is permitted to operate. We felt a centralized resource to track it all was absolutely needed.”
To use the NLAE COVID-19 map, simply log on to www.nlae.org/covid-19. The map is hosted by NLAE and was developed by a partnership comprised of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, the Arizona Nursery Association and NLAE, with contributions from various other state trade associations.
The interface is simple: if the user wants information about a particular state or Canadian territory, they just click it. When they do, a box shows the current open/closed/restricted status of growers, greenhouse operations, retailers and landscaping/supply chain businesses in that state or territory. It also provides additional green industry resources related to COVID-19 from each participating association, as well as the relevant orders from each state or territory, if available.
The idea came from Jeff Stone, executive director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries.
“We felt a strong need for something like this in Oregon,” Stone said. “Our state ships 80 percent of the nursery stock it produces to other states, and more than half of the material goes east of the Mississippi River. That’s a long ways to send a truck. Growers need to know what’s going on in the markets they serve, and we wanted to provide this resource for them.”
The NLAE COVID-19 map was inspired by a similar map, which was created by the Arizona Nursery Association and spearheaded by its executive director, Cheryl Goar Koury. It shows which states are participating in the Plant Something program, which is a consumer marketing initiative for the green industry. NLAE, ANA and OAN repurposed code from that map to create the NLAE COVID-19 map.
"We enlisted our developer once we identified this need," Goar Koury said. "He was quick to respond, and I think we ended up with a powerful tool that will really benefit the industry."