Where we started.
On January 1, 2014, AmericanHort was born by the consolidation of the American Nursery & Landscape Association and OFA—The Association of Horticultural Professionals. With a combined 220+ years of experience with the whole of the plant and horticulture services industry, AmericanHort was formed by the ANLA and OFA members to unify the industry, improve collaboration, increase organizational efficiencies, and expand the support for the industry’s businesses. With that goal in mind, AmericanHort truly represents the entire horticulture industry, including breeders, greenhouse and nursery growers, retailers, distributors, interior and exterior landscapers, florists, students, educators, researchers, manufacturers, and all of those who are part of the industry market chain. It is the leading national association for the industry, and our size and scope makes AmericanHort the largest association for garden retailers in the world.
On the date of the consolidation, ANLA and OFA formally ceased doing business. While often thought of as organizations just for growers, the fact is the legacy organizations from the earliest days included all sectors of the industry in their membership. AmericanHort inherited these communities and continues the effort to promote, protect, and preserve the industry that is an integral part of our national economies, and contributes to the health and well-being of our citizens and communities.
Where we're headed.
Our Mission is to unite, promote, and advance our industry through advocacy, collaboration, connectivity, education, market development, and research.
Our Vision is to be the leading and unifying organization for the horticulture industry in order to cultivate successful businesses, and for our industry to enhance lives through the benefits of plants.
Our Guiding Principles are:
- Be influential advocates. The association will maintain the connections and clout needed to impact legislative and regulatory decisions for the benefit of the horticulture industry and our consumers.
- Be authoritative educators. The association will leverage our industry’s collective knowledge and experience, supported by ongoing research, to be the leading authorities in the business of growing and selling plants, and related products and services.
- Be collaborative across the industry. The members of the association will work together as a professional community to share knowledge, resources, and connectivity for the mutual success of all horticulture industry sectors.
- Be fervent supporters of plant businesses. The association will help our members grow the business of growing and selling plants, and related products and services, by promoting the expertise of fellow professionals, supporting the development of quality products, and inspiring better design, which will lead to increased sales across the industry.
- Be passionate promoters of healthy communities. The association will support activities that, thanks to our industry’s products and services, lead to healthier and more beautiful communities, and a more inspired way of life.
About the founding organizations.
Over the combined 220+ years of existence, thousands of people contributed to development and successes of the founding organizations. While ANLA and OFA no longer exist, what their members and leaders accomplished will always be remembered and honored.
The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) was founded in 1876 as the American Association of Nurserymen, Florists and Seedsmen. With the departure of the florists and seedsmen companies in the early 1880s, the association’s name was changed to the American Association of Nurserymen and has ever since represented the interests of nursery and greenhouse growers, landscape firms, distributors, retailers, and allied suppliers.
ANLA was organized as the industry struggled to respond to difficult economic conditions and increasingly invasive government relations. The first bylaws, adopted in 1876, stated that the association’s objective was to promote the interests of it members in cultivating “personal acquaintance with others engaged in the trade,” the exhibition of plants and equipment “used in the business,” and the exchange and sale of stock. For well over a century ANLA ensured a viable future for the horticulture industry advocating the industry’s interests on issues including the availability of an economic workforce, efficient interstate shipping of plant material and key tax protections for measuring inventory and the generational transfer of land and businesses.
OFA - The Association of Horticulture Professionals (OFA) was founded in 1929 as the Ohio State Florist Association by graduates of The Ohio State University. They came together to collaborate on research, extension, and knowledge sharing to improve the floriculture industry in Ohio. Later, the group merged with the Ohio Flower Growers and became the Ohio Flower Growers’ and Retailers Association, chartered in 1931. In October 1937, the name was changed to the Ohio Flower Growers’ Association. By February 1938, the name was changed to the Ohio Florists’ Association. Reflective of the several name changes, from its earliest days OFA was always evolving and expanding to serve its members and the industry.
Over the years, the association outgrew the Ohio state boundaries as it served professionals from the world, literally. Through the well-known OFA Short Course international convention and trade show (first held in 1929 and now known as Cultivate), and other industry promotional programs and conferences offered around the United States, the association expanded its reach. This led to the group changing its name again in 2003 to simply “OFA” and identified itself as a national association for all horticulture professionals, including greenhouse and nursery growers. However, with a quarter of its member companies engaged in retail and horticulture services, the organization was certainly not just for growers. OFA also served landscape and interiorscape firms, retail florists, students, educators, and allied suppliers and other businesses.
From their beginnings, ANLA and OFA were about connecting the entire industry market chain. This vision was expanded through their consolidation to form AmericanHort in 2014.