Last month I shared how the Society of American Florists pulled off the #StressLess Tour, handing out free plants and explaining how plants are an excellent source of stress relief. I promised to introduce you to another group that celebrates the green industry with plant giveaways.

The Collegiate Plant Initiative (CPI) is a student-run organization that started at the University of Florida and has since expanded to campuses across the country. CPI’s mission is to expose college students to horticulture and ultimately create a group of people who love plants.

From the CPI website: “By showing students how they can enjoy plants within their future hobbies and careers, we hope to build a stronger connection between the industry and the next generation of consumers and employees.”

The group’s Plant Drops have proven to be an effective means of getting the attention of students. The group gives away, 1,000 plants to college students, generating a lot of excitement and building that bond that will hopefully create an interest in plants. Besides the plant, the group provides plant care education and explains why plants are important. Pictures from social media show throngs of students gathered to get their free plant and lots of smiles once they have it in their hands. CPI is helping to create your next generation of employees and consumers.

CPI also started an introductory plants class at UF, Plants Gardening & You, and more than 300 students are enrolled. Through the class, CPI creates experiments to test which plant color, variety, shape and overall appearance college students like best. These data allow CPI to predict which plant varieties will be most popular among consumers and identify whether college-aged individuals share common preferences in plant appearance. And with two back-to-back class sections, CPI is able to gather two sets of data for each class date.

Green-industry donors to this initiative include Altman Plants, American Floral Endowment, MasterTag, Proven Winners, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Baucom’s Nursery. CPI is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. If you’re interested in becoming an industry donor, email Virginia@CollegiatePlantInitiative.org. CPI also accepts cash, checks and Venmo payments (@PlantLove), or go to the “Donate” tab of the website.

For more: www.collegiateplantinitiative.org

krodda@gie.net