Look for Virginia Grown horticulture products at a nursery or greenhouse near you

A few weeks ago the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other agricultural organizations encouraged citizens to take the $10 Buy Local Challenge: if each household in Virginia spent just $10 a week on locally grown agricultural products, consumers would invest an additional $1.65 billion back into the local economy annually.

That’s an extra $1.65 added to the $55 billion agriculture already contributes to the state’s economy each year.

“We did not limit the challenge to edible products,” says VDACS Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr. “This week we are encouraging people to go their local nursery, greenhouse, co-op or farmers’ market and buy Virginia Grown products that will help them beautify their yards and enhance their gardens.”

Virginia’s nurseries are bursting with Virginia Grown products right now. Many of them feature plants, shrubs, trees, grasses, bulbs, rhizomes and bushes grown within minutes of the point of sale. These plants already are acclimated to the micro-climate of the area, increasing the chance that they will thrive in consumers’ yards or gardens.

Horticulture is a fast-growing segment of Virginia agriculture. It is now the state’s fifth highest ranked commodity and generated $262 million in revenue in 2010. Just over a decade ago it was not even ranked in the state’s Top 20 Commodities.

Finding Virginia Grown products couldn’t be easier. At VirginiaGrown.com, consumers can search by product or by venue. A search for “nursery” yields farms, nurseries, garden centers, farmers’ markets and more that sell fresh, seasonal products. Consumers should look for the Virginia Grown banner at these locations, as well as grocery stores and big box stores. They also can download a free Virginia Grown app for Windows Phone 7 at appsfuze.com/applications/windowsphone.foodanddining/virginia-grown-mobile,7888.

“I encourage every Virginian to look for and buy local nursery and landscaping products,” said Commissioner Lohr. “They are proven winners in our diverse geographical areas. In addition to beautifying our neighborhoods, they provide additional benefits such as wildlife habitat, erosion control, biodiversity and oxygenation.”

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