When I was growing up, my mother would regularly remind me of the importance of learning a little about a lot of different topics, surrounding yourself with smart, passionate people and being able to relate to others on some level. This didn’t mean you had to share their interests or even agree with people. It just meant that you could have a conversation and learn something from the interaction, no matter how small the lesson.

She told me about a time that she met a man who was passionate about music boxes. It’s a niche interest, for sure, and there were people who might not understand why he enjoyed them so much. However, he was fascinating to listen to and learn from, my mom told me. The passion and knowledge that he possessed for music boxes made him an interesting person to those around him, and my mother was a captive audience for that brief period of time. She didn’t go into that hobby, but it was an inspiring conversation that she still remembers years later.

While I don’t come from a horticultural background, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to surround myself with those who do, and whose passion has pushed them to succeed, even when the road gets challenging. In the process of developing this month’s issue, I had the opportunity to speak with many different experts in horticulture on the topics that they know and care about the most. I chatted with a patent agent and a patent attorney, two university lighting and controlled environment agriculture experts, a horticulturist and researcher at NASA who’s been working with LEDs since the 1980s, two greenhouse growers who are using all of the tools available to them to produce better crops, and I even got to reminisce about the great people I met at California Spring Trials.

This month, we’re excited to debut the State of Lighting Report, a comprehensive look into lighting use in horticulture (starting after page 50) with insights from industry experts and research results from readers like you. It’s a section you won’t want to miss, even if you’re not ready for a lighting upgrade at your operation — it could be your music box inspiration.

If you’re reading this at Cultivate’16 or another industry event this summer, I hope you take the opportunity to network with as many passionate people as you can, and let yourself be inspired by the energy coursing through the industry. It’s an exciting time to be in the horticulture industry, and I’m proud to have become a part of it.

Karen E. Varga, Editor

kvarga@gie.net

216-393-0290 | Twitter: @Karen_GIE