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PHS President Drew Becher Wants YOU to Attend Philadelphia Flower Show
Events

PHS President Drew Becher Wants YOU to Attend Philadelphia Flower Show

PHS president Drew Becher talks about the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show
Photo courtesy of PHS’s website

As the Philadelphia Flower Show kicked off their Hawaii: Islands of Aloha to the public on Sunday, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s President Drew Becher is pretty much Philadelphia’s man of the week.  Last year’s Philadelphia Flower Show brought in $61 million to the Philly region and enhanced local programs like Plant One Million.  Luckily, we were able to sit down with Drew for a few minutes to chat about the Drew’s favorite exhibit at the Flower Show, PHS’s wins & challenges to greenify Philadelphia, and Drew’s secret ‘green’ habit he’s been practicing since age 10.

Green Philly Blog: We attended the Philadelphia Flower Show Preview on Friday and must say you’ve pulled off a spectacular and gorgeous show.  How are you feeling about this year’s theme?

Drew Becher: I feel great about it. Personally, I think we knocked it out of the park with the modern stuff we’re doing.  I inherited this theme and it could have gone either one of two ways: either really hooky or really cool.  We made a concerted effort to focus on the modern, coolness factor.  Also, we tried to translate a tropical theme into ideas that people can use in their homes, here, in an obviously non-tropical environment. I think we did a fantastic job of that.

GPB: What’s your favorite exhibit?

Drew: It’s hard for me to pick “one” favorite. I think the PHS exhibit is quite honestly one of my favorites, which promotes our City Harvest Program.  The whole garden concept is that we can create beauty out of found objects and it doesn’t cost a lot.  The garden with the largest lettuce wall and reclaimed wood from dumpster diving were put together in a cool way.  I also like the concept that vegetables don’t have to grow in rows.  You don’t have to put them behind a house.  They can be mixed in with your annuals and your perennials.  All of the showcase gardens are amazing.  I love the orchid wave. I think it’s a pretty big WOW when you come in with that technology component.

Scale model of Center City Philadelphia at 2012 Flower Show

GPB: You mentioned City Harvest.  The documentary Urban Roots showcases the Detroit Farming movement.  Do you think the inspiration could catch on here in Philadelphia?

Drew: Definitely, we have that here IN Philadelphia.  Philadelphia actually is one of the longest legacy-cities with community gardens.  With the City Harvest & Growers Alliance, people that are farming in the city and getting it out to the market.  We have a great partnership with Weaver’s Way Co-op. Most of their vegetables & produce during ‘growing’ season are grown IN the city limits of Philadelphia by urban farmers – which a lot of people don’t realize.  Since 2006, City Harvest & Growers Alliance have grown 160,000 pounds of fresh organic produce to area food cupboards.  I’m sure it will double or triple that.

GPB: How did you incorporate sustainable PHS efforts into the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show?

Drew: Some of the exhibits are focused on sustainability.  There’s not many events where you get to speak to close to 300,000 people over 9 days to get that message out. Specifically we can do that with the Hawaii theme, since it’s one of the strictest states regarding environmental standards.  But I also think what we do after the show is important. Last year, we started what we call “Flower Shower 365”, where we reuse these exhibits and take them out into the community.  I don’t want them to, and these exhibits should not be going into landfills. It’s something we’re really focused on as an organization. We’ll be coming out in our  Philadelphia Flower Show Business plan and a goal is to turn this show into a much more sustainable effort, so I’m excited about that.

GPB: That’s excellent!  There’s so many parallels between the PHS campaigns and Mayor Nutter’s Goal to become the greenest city in the nation with his Greenworks plan.  What do you think the biggest hurdle is to reach this goal?

Drew: I think the biggest hurdle for this city (and this is something I just talked about with Mayor Nutter) is the litter problem. It’s something we see day-to-day in our neighborhoods that we work with. It’s something we need to figure out as a region and a community.  That’s one aspect.  Another big hurdles is the education of the folks.  We’ve GOT to make it harder to put something in the trash and instead put in the recycling. Or else, it’s just not going to work.  It’s something the city as a whole needs to focus on. It needs to become easy. It takes thought. I’m not saying people don’t think, but people always want the easier way out.

GPB: Great point. On a more personal level, is there something green you do that you’re proud of?

Drew: I don’t like wasting water at all. I’m one of those people who turn on the faucet, put water on my toothbrush, and turn it off.  It’s that little thing, but I remember someone telling me that over your lifetime of brushing your teeth, leaving the water on – how much water is wasted. Just that little thing is really amazing, so I’ve always remembered that. I was like 10 or something when I started.  (Editors note: It’s 2 gallons each time you brush your teeth with water running, so our quick calculations are 111,000 + gallons of water in a lifetime. Wow.)

GPB:  Is there anything else you want to add?

Drew: I would love for your audience to come to the Philadelphia Flower Show, and really come and see it –  because I think it will be surprising how entertaining it is, how educational it is, and if they haven’t been to it in a while, they will be very impressed.

GPB: I agree with that statement. Thank you so much for your time today!

Scale model of the art museum at the Philadelphia Flower Show Exhibit for "Green City, Clean Waters"
Scale model of the art museum at the Philadelphia Flower Show 2012 Exhibit for “Green City, Clean Waters”

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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