The OFA was the leading horticulture educational association in the USA. First formed in 1929 as the Ohio Florist Association it grew over the years to become The Association of Horticulture Professionals. The OFA mission was to support and advance professional horticulture and the industry segments served included florists, interior plantscapers. garden centers, greenhouses, nurseries, landscapers, and more. The OFA was known for its excellent publications and the OFA Short Course, one of the best educational events/trade shows in the US floriculture industry.
The organization was originally formed in 1929 as the Ohio Florist Association when when graduates of The Ohio State University decided to meet each year to discuss and share current issues and technology.
This group would later merge with the Ohio Flower Growers, becoming the Ohio Flower Growers' and Retailers Association which was chartered in 1931. The name of the organization was changed to the Ohio Flower Growers' Association in October 1937.
The name was changed again, in February 1938, to the Ohio Florists' Association. In 2002 it was re-branded once more as "OFA – an Association of Horticulture Professionals". This was later changed to "OFA – The Association of Horticulture Professionals".
Here is a look at their artwork over the last decade:
To support and advance professional horticulture.
A 20-member Board of Directors and more than 150 industry leaders served on more than 17 committees that guide all the Association's activities. At its peak the office was staffed by 14 employees.
OFA Membership Totals & Demographics, August 2011
Total Members: 2,350
Members in Ohio: 23%
Members in other U.S. States: 69%
International Members: 7%
Honorary/Affiliate Members: 1%
Garden Centers: 25%
Industry Suppliers: 23%
OFA Short Course
Known as one of the best events in the US floriculture industry the event known as the OFA Short Course offered education, products, and events for members of all areas of the industry including growers, garden centers, florists, interior plantscapers, and the next generation of horticulture professionals.
For more than 80 years many in the horticulture industry considered the OFA Short Course conference and marketplace home. One of the largest, and considered to be one of the most important, industry events attendees from across the globe came to learn, be inspired, as well as connect with peers, products, great ideas, and business solutions.
The Short Course was designed for busy industry professional and featured a trade show, education, and networking events are all designed to provide them with answers to stay successful. Leaders from industry and academia will present the latest information on profitability, marketing, financial management, retailing, production, and more.
The 2012 Short Course included the following:
- 500 companies in a 1,500-booth trade show with relevant products and services
- 120 speakers from across the world
- 150 sessions for all segments of the industry
- Idea exchanges, tours, hands-on workshops
- Garden Center Live!
- New Varieties and New Products displays
- Sustainable Solutions Showcase featuring eco-friendly products
- Florist design contest and demonstrations
Consolidation With ANLA And Birth Of AmericanHort
AmericanHort has a combined 220+ years of experience with all aspects of the plant and horticulture services industry. It was formed by ANLA and OFA members to unify the floriculture industry, improve collaboration, increase organizational efficiencies, and expand the support for the industry’s businesses.
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 the sheer size and scope of the new association makes AmericanHort the largest association for garden retailers in the world.
End of OFA
With the birth of AmericanHort the ANLA and OFA formally ceased doing business. Although often thought of as organizations that are only for growers, the truth is that these legacy organizations from the earliest days included all sectors of the industry in their membership from their earliest days. AmericanHort inherited these communities and continues the original ANLA/OFA 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.
Continuation of the OFA Short Course
The OFA Short Course was always one of the key events in the flower industry and it continues on, rebranded as Cultivate.
Like the OFA Short Course that came before it the Cultivate event continues to offer premier educational and networking experiences, and more than seven acres of trade show exhibits including technology, new products and services, and new plant varieties.
The trade show has been named among the top 200 largest trade shows in North America for the last seven years by the annual edition of Trade Show News Network, ranking number 147 in 2013. The show debuted on the list at number 194. Other trade shows making the list include the Consumer Electronics Show, the International Builders Show and the National Restaurant Show.