Retail nurseries, garden centers seek IPM information
During the next two years, UC IPM will be working closely with retailers and their employees to better inform shoppers about IPM options.
Employees who sell pesticides and garden supplies in retail stores are a key source of pest information for many California consumers. They are in an ideal situation to educate the public about IPM and environmentally sound pest management solutions.
To prepare for this project, UC IPM staff surveyed retail garden centers and nurseries to assess their information and training needs. Seventy-one store managers or owners participated in the survey, representing 77% of retailers in Contra Costa, Marin, and Sacramento counties. Despite reduced staff and a poor economy, managers were very enthusiastic about a UC training program.
UC IPM already offers online training for retail employees on its Web site. For 2011, the urban team is preparing for new, hands-on training programs at sites in Northern California.
The surveyed stores also expressed a strong interest in newsletters and handouts that could be personalized with their store logo. An advisory committee including retailers, consultants, the California Association of Retail Nurseries and Garden Centers, UC experts, and public agencies has been assembled to advise UC IPM about the retail education program.
A grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is providing funding for the retail-employee outreach program.
UC IPM is also part of a new Pest Management Alliance led by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) and funded by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to identify and train and certify professional IPM Advocates who will help retailers deliver IPM information to their customers.
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