State Attorney General Sues Egg Producer For Price Gouging

first_imgBrando / Flickr / CC BY 2.0ALBANY — New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against Hillandale Farms, one of the country’s largest producers and wholesale distributors of eggs, for allegedly illegally gouging the prices of eggs during the coronavirus pandemic.In March and April, Hillandale allegedly gouged the prices of more than four million cartons of eggs sold to major grocery store chains, U.S. military facilities, and wholesale food distributors throughout the state, charging New York customers up to four times the pre-pandemic price for one carton of eggs.During those two months — the height of the pandemic in New York — Hillandale made an estimated $4 million from unlawfully increasing the price of these eggs, which were often sold in grocery stores located in low-income communities, according to James. The lawsuit seeks restitution from Hillandale for those consumers who were forced to pay unlawfully high prices for this essential food item. The Attorney General’s Office learned of Hillandale’s price gouging after receiving complaints from consumers about the high prices of eggs at grocery stores.“As this pandemic ravaged our country, Hillandale exploited hardworking New Yorkers to line its own pockets,” said James. “In less than two months, Hillandale made millions by cheating our most vulnerable communities and our service members, actions that are both unlawful and truly rotten.” The lawsuit alleges that Hillandale, a company based in Ohio and Pennsylvania, began raising prices during March as the pandemic grew to emergency levels. In January, Hillandale charged Western Beef supermarkets prices ranging from $0.59 to $1.10 for a dozen large white eggs. On March 15, Hillandale raised that price to $1.49. As the pandemic progressed, Hillandale raised the prices it charged Western Beef repeatedly, eventually reaching $2.93 per dozen — a price almost five times the price Hillandale charged in January.Hillandale allegedly gouged prices similarly on eggs sold to the commissary store at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In April, Hillandale charged West Point $3.15 per carton of large eggs, almost quadruple the $0.84 price it charged West Point in January. The suit alleges that Hillandale raised its prices similarly on eggs sold to Stop & Shop, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Associated Supermarkets, and the commissary stores at the U.S. military bases at Fort Hamilton and Fort Drum.As Hillandale raised prices on the eggs it sold to grocery stores, consumers complained that the grocery stores raised the prices they charged to consumers. One elderly consumer complained to the Attorney General’s Office in April that he attempted to buy Hillandale eggs at a Fine Fare store located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, only to find that “All prices are $2.30 and double the price.” He stated, “I’ve been living in the community for 65 years. The prices are ridiculous…Sad and disrespectful to people who are buying from them all our lives.” Another consumer shopping at a Western Beef store complained that the retail price for a dozen Hillandale eggs had increased to $5.49, stating, “This location serves low income families who, due to the current pandemic emergency, have most likely lost what little income they have. Disgraceful!”The lawsuit alleges that Hillandale has raised its prices not because of increased costs, but simply to take advantage of higher consumer demand during the pandemic. Hillandale — like numerous egg producers nationwide — has done so by following “indexed” prices published by a market research company called Urner Barry. According to the suit, Urner Barry’s “indexed” prices work like a feedback loop: Egg producers such as Hillandale tell Urner Barry their “assessments” of prices in the egg marketplace; Urner Barry then repeats back to egg producers their collective assessments, distilled into “indexed” prices; and egg producers such as Hillandale then use Urner Barry’s indexed prices as justification to set their own prices for the sale of eggs.The suit alleges that an Urner Barry director has defended the price increases, stating, “egg prices are up because demand is up sharply.” The director stated, “It’s like ahead of a major snowstorm, when people are not sure if they’ll be able to go out again, other than this is happening on a national scale.” Yet, as the suit points out, protecting consumers against excessive price increases during such times is the purpose of the state’s price gouging statute.The lawsuit brings claims against six Hillandale Farms companies, including Hillandale Farms Corp., Hillandale Farms East, Inc., Hillandale Farms of PA, Inc., Hillandale Farms Conn, LLC, Hillandale Farms of Delaware, Inc., and Hillandale-Gettysburg, L.P.The lawsuit against Hillandale is the second suit brought by Attorney General James in the past three months to stop price gouging by wholesale suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic and protect consumers. In May 2020, Attorney General James sued Quality King Distributors, a Long Island-based wholesale company, for illegally raising prices on Lysol disinfectant products it sold to retail stores in New York.The lawsuit was filed in the Commercial Division of New York State Supreme Court for New York County. Attorney General James is suing for a permanent injunction barring Hillandale from continuing its illegal conduct, restitution for injured consumers, damages, civil penalties, and disgorgement of Hillandale’s profits from its illegal practices.“It’s beyond reprehensible that a big company like Hillandale would seek to capitalize on a global health crisis to make a profit,” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society. “Even more appalling is that countless low-income families in New York, already struggling financially in the wake of the coronavirus, were forced to pay in some cases five times the price for an essential food item — eggs. We applaud State Attorney General James for seeking injunctive relief barring Hillandale Farms from further price-gouging, civil penalties, disgorgement of its illegal profits, and restitution for consumers who were harmed.” Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Gloria Estefan’s Get On Your Feet May Be Broadway Bound

first_img On Your Feet tells the tale of Estefan’s early years in Miami and how she recovered from a broken back after almost dying in an accident in 1990. The pop icon admitted: “It’s going to be daunting, but I have no doubt whatsoever that we are going to be able to do it and so much fun to be a part of the processes.” Looks like Gloria Estefan’s rhythm is finally going to get to the Great White Way. Her long-in-the-works bilingual musical On Your Feet will likely debut in 2015. According to the New York Daily News, the main character of the tuner, based on Estefan herself, will be cast by a reality TV show. There will be three Glorias to play the Cuban-American superstar at various ages. Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan were both born in Cuba and together became musical hitmakers in Spanish and English, winning Grammy Awards and fans across the world with hits like “The Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “Words Get in the Way,” “1, 2, 3″ and the Oscar-nominated “Music Of My Heart.” They’ve also helped shape the careers of other artists including Shakira, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. On Your Feet! Related Shows View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 20, 2017last_img read more

Broadway Grosses: Constellations Continues to Shine Bright

first_img UNDERDOGS (By Gross) 5. Mamma Mia! ($413,270) 4. On the Town ($407,366) 3. On the Twentieth Century ($377,072) 2. The Heidi Chronicles ($305,345)* 1. Honeymoon in Vegas ($284,648) *Number based on eight preview performances **Number based on seven preview performances ***Number based on nine regular performances Here’s a look at who was on top—and who was not—for the week ending March 1: FRONTRUNNERS (By Capacity) 1. The Book of Mormon (102.50%) 2. Fish in the Dark (101.58%)* 3. The Audience (100.39%)** 4. Constellations (98.34%)*** 5. Aladdin (97.59%) View Comments UNDERDOGS (By Capacity) 5. It’s Only a Play (63.05%) 4. Mamma Mia! (60.39%) 3. The Phantom of the Opera (56.61%) 2. Honeymoon in Vegas (48.37%) 1. On the Town (40.61%) The skies might not be totally clear yet, but the stars are certainly visible on Broadway. Constellations, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and recent Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson in their Broadway debuts, played its first of three Friday late-night shows this weekend, and with nine performances, the play celebrated an impressive 98.34% capacity. The top five by capacity also included two long-running favorites (The Book of Mormon and Aladdin), as well as two shows that will open soon (The Audience and Fish in the Dark). Fish in the Dark, The Book of Mormon and Aladdin also appeared in the top five shows by gross, joining perennial box office hits The Lion King and Wicked. FRONTRUNNERS (By Gross) 1. The Lion King ($1,490,989) 2. The Book of Mormon ($1,433,408) 3. Wicked ($1,204,467) 4. Aladdin ($1,198,904) 5. Fish in the Dark ($1,159,537)* Source: The Broadway Leaguelast_img read more

Simon McBurney Ensnares the Senses in The Encounter

first_img Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 8, 2017 View Comments Simon McBurney Simon McBurney(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser)center_img Related Shows We never thought we’d see the day where headphones would be allowed at the theater! Tony nominee Simon McBurney’s The Encounter requires audience members put them on to completely immerse themselves in the sensory experience he has created previously at London’s Barbican Centre and now at Broadway’s Golden Threatre. In the one-man play, McBurney draws from Amazon Beaming, a book by Petru Popescu about National Geographic writer and photographer Loren McIntyre’s experience with tribes along the Amazon River. McBurney co-directs the production, which begins performances on September 20, alongside Kirsty Housley. Opening night is scheduled for September 29. Strange sounds, water tricks and a head shaman await audience members for a completely unique theatrical experience. Check out our hot shots of McBurney as he takes the stage, and be sure to catch The Encounter; the limited engagement is closing on Janaury 8, 2017. The Encounterlast_img read more

Thirst Busters.

first_imgIf your lawn looks lean and your landscape limp during hot, dry weather and the sprinkler is a life support system, maybe it’s time you reassess your landscape. Maybe you need to think of ways to reduce its water demand.With careful planning and plant selection, you can develop a quality landscape that requires little to no water beyond what Mother Nature provides.Using drought-tolerant ground covers is a great alternative to areas that require routine watering to keep them looking their best. Many are economical and easy to establish. And they provide years of low-maintenance beauty.For hot, dry, sunny sites, consider one of the horizontal or creeping junipers, such as Blue Rug, Prince of Wales or Blue Pacific. Junipers are tough as nails once they’re established. They can survive long periods of limited rainfall.Other Great ChoicesOther great choices for dry, sunny sites include yarrow, hardy ice plant, wintercreeper euonymus, Carolina jessamine, day lily, liriope, mondo grass, sedum, trumpet creeper, creeping raspberry, Virginia creeper and Asiatic jasmine.For shady, dry sites, consider Japanese pachysandra or creeping lily turf.When planting ground covers under trees, try not to disturb the tree roots any more than you have to. If grass is growing under the tree, spray it with Roundup. Wait a few hours for it to dry on the foliage. Then dig planting holes carefully through the turf, just large enough to put the plant in place, and add mulch. If liriope is your plant of choice, bear in mind that there are two types — clumping and creeping. Before you decide which liriope to use, remember that there are two types, clumping and creeping. Two Types of LiriopeJust as the name implies, clumping liriope, Liriope muscari, stays somewhat confined to the clump, while the creeping forms, Liriope spicata, spread by underground rhizomes. They may creep several feet from the original planting.Both are great ground covers, but the creeping form is a little more aggressive than the clumping types.Proper spacing is important when planting ground covers so the plants don’t overgrow their neighbors and become a maintenance problem.Space most of the ground covers mentioned above at least 18 inches to 2 feet apart in most landscape situations. Many of the creeping junipers will spread 6 feet in all directions. Plant them no closer than 2 feet apart.Economy With ‘Liner Plants’An economical way to establish ground covers is to buy what are commonly called “liner plants” in the nursery trade. These are small plants grown in cell-packs or 2-inch pots. Photo: Gary Wade Creeping junipers can be wonderful for banks and other hard-to-maintain landscape places. Photo: Gary Wade Some ground-cover suppliers will also ship some types of ground covers bare-root for next-day planting. Check with your local nurseryman about the availability of liner plants.He may not have them in stock. But he can likely special-order them from his suppliers. Georgia has some of the largest ground-cover nurseries in the nation. Plants are readily available from wholesale growers.Although ground covers help reduce water use in the long run, they will need to be watered regularly, just like other plants, during establishment.About six weeks after planting, give a tug on a few of the plants to see if they feel well rooted. If so, you can begin to gradually wean them off water and let Mother Nature take control of the irrigation.last_img read more

Fanning Lecture

first_imgBy Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaThe 18th annual J.W. Fanning Lecture will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on the University of Georgia campus in Athens. Georgia is the top-producing poultry state in the country and economists estimate the total economic impact of poultry in the state to be over $13 billion annually. The topic should be of interest to anyone interested in Georgia’s economy, particularly those interested in poultry, export business or international trade, said Fred White, an agricultural economist with UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “There is a lot happening now with international trade in poultry,” White said. “Recent trade disputes with Russia have been resolved. We are just opening up the Cuban market. And international trade negotiations are beginning with the World Trade Organization.” Eric J. Joiner, president, COO and co-founder of AJC International, a global frozen food distribution company, will be the featured speaker. Joiner, who received his MBA from Georgia State University, will speak on the “Dynamics of the Global Poultry Market.”A world authority on poultry “The greatest potential for future growth of the poultry market lies in other countries,” said Mike Lacy, poultry scientist at UGA. “Eric Joiner is the former chairman of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council and is a member of the board of directors. He is one of the world’s authorities on U.S. poultry exports.” AJC International was founded in Atlanta in 1972 by Joiner and Gerald Allison. They began with a staff of four at a time when American suppliers focused primarily on their best market – the U.S. One of the largest food distributorsIn the last thirty years, AJC International has grown with the world economy, evolving its original customer base in Puerto Rico to one that encompasses the globe. Today the company maintains its corporate office in Atlanta and foreign offices in the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, Argentina and China. The company is now one of the world’s largest food distribution services, marketing poultry, pork, red meat, seafood, vegetables and fruits to North and South America, Europe and Asia. Consumers will recognize AJC International’s products under the Amerifoods, Early Dawn, Frosty Acres, Garden Maid, Golden Phoenix, Grande, and Mity Fresh brand names. The J.W. Fanning Lecture Series is sponsored by the Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, the departments of Agricultural & Applied Economics and Poultry Science at UGA and the Office of International Public Service and Outreach at UGA. The lecture series is named in honor of Dr. J.W. Fanning, former vice president for services and professor of agricultural and applied economics at UGA. Fanning was instrumental in developing public service and outreach at UGA.The lecture will begin at 10:30 a.m. in Rooms K/L of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2002. Registration and a reception will begin at 10:00 a.m. on the 2nd floor concourse.A luncheon and awards ceremony will follow at noon in the banquet area of the Georgia Center. Gaylord Coan, a distinguished alumnus of UGA’s Agricultural and Applied Economics Department, will be presented the CAES Alumni Association 2002 Award of Excellence. For more information call (706)542-2481.last_img read more

It’s gift time

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaThe holidays are known as a time for giving. But giving doesn’t just mean buying a child the most sought-after toy of the season. Sharon Gibson uses the holidays to teach her children how to give back to their community.“We need to be ensuring a season of giving instead of getting,” said Gibson, a multicultural specialist with the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “What we want to instill in our children is that service and giving of oneself should be a part of daily life.”She’s passing on her message with more than just words.When Gibson’s children were small, they didn’t spend Thanksgiving Day in front of the television, kitchen stove or dining room table. They spent it behind a steaming pan of turkey or dressing at a soup kitchen, spoons in hands, ready to serve.Gibson says this type of service lets parents talk to their children about things besides Christmas lists and what they’d like to do over the holidays.“The greatest gift that a parent can give a child is time together doing something for others,” she said. “Time spent serving community good provides parents with opportunities to discuss many issues important to the family.”Opportunities to give aren’t limited to soup kitchens. If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, Gibson offers this list of organizations that tend to have programs for the holidays.• Religious groups: “Churches, mosques, temples, very often those organizations have a network to facilitate giving,” she said. “These are good places to start.”• Department of Family and Children Services offices “are found in each county,” she said. “They often have organizations that come to them for help.”• Civic groups, such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Civitan clubs, often need volunteer help with their holiday programs.• Toys for Tots, Toys for Teens and the Salvation Army: “They tell you to bring a new item or something that’s ‘gently used,’” she said. “When giving used toys, make sure that they’re nice, not missing pieces and not broken. For example, don’t give puzzles that are missing pieces or cars with broken wheels.”• Bill funds: “Sometimes there are funds set up for paying people’s bills,” she said. “These are ideal for making monetary contributions.”• Food banks or homeless shelters: “Ask them what kind of items they need this time of year,” Gibson said. “You don’t want to take perishables, and you want to make sure what you’re giving is what you yourself would use.”The last time she gave to a homeless shelter, Gibson was surprised by the items she didn’t consider. While she did think of blankets and toiletries such as deodorant, soap and toothpaste, she didn’t consider a backpack.She now suggests filling backpacks with “those things that an individual can use throughout the year” like first aid kits, pens and paper, undergarments and personal items.And, remember, homeless people aren’t just adults. Gibson suggests buying diapers and baby food for women’s shelters.“There are approximately 2 million homeless people in the United States,” Gibson said. “It’s men, women and children, and it’s not just an urban issue.”Gibson defines “homeless” as a person or parent and child with no place to live, or a person living temporarily with friends or relatives. “For all purposes, that person is homeless,” she said. “Think about that this time of year.”Giving, she said, shouldn’t be limited to the holidays. “The holiday season is just two months out of the year. There are 10 other months when these people need our care.”last_img read more

Pingali Talk

first_imgBy Denise HortonPrabhu Pingali, director of the Tata-Cornell University Initiative for Agriculture and Nutrition, will speak April 7 at 4 p.m. in the Georgia Museum of Art as part of this year’s International Agriculture Day on the University of Georgia campus in Athens.Sponsored by the UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the day will include Pingali’s on “Addressing Persistent Malnutrition in the Developing World—Getting Beyond the Focus on Increasing the Pile of Food Grains.”The world has the means to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, Pingali said, but accomplishing this task requires convincing international policymaking groups to focus their energies on that common goal.Pingali will discuss a range of topics related to agriculture and nutrition. In a recent interview published by Creating Chemistry magazine, Pingali said a disconnect occurred during the original Green Revolution, when there was a focus on increasing the production of staple grains, such as rice, maize and wheat.“There was very little understanding at that time of the overall food system and of the importance of building up a diversity of food available to consumers,” he said. “That’s been the big change over the last three decades: moving away from this focus on staples to looking more broadly at the food system from farm to plate.”Pingali was named director of the Tata-Cornell initiative soon after it was established in 2013 with a $25 million endowment from the India-based Tata Education and Development Trust. The goal of the initiative is to solve the problems of poverty, malnutrition and rural development in India.Prior to joining the initiative, Pingali spent five years as deputy director of agriculture development for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He began his career as an economist with the World Bank in 1982, followed by stints as an agricultural economist at the International Rice Research Institute, director of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and director of the Agricultural and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.In addition to Pingali’s talk, the event will include presentation of the CAES Undergraduate Global Citizen Award, the Edward T. and Karen Kanemasu Global Engagement Award and the Global Programs Graduate International Travel Award.Attendees will vote for their favorite of the five finalists in this year’s Agriculture Abroad Student Photo Contest. The winners will be announced at the end of the reception.For more information on International Agriculture Day and the Office of Global Programs, see http://www.global.uga.edu/internationalagricultureday .last_img read more

Griffin Leader

first_imgGrowing up in Texas, Lew Hunnicutt always dreamed of owning a cattle ranch and being a cowboy. But, thanks to his grandmother’s encouragement, he enrolled in college and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree, three master’s degrees and one doctorate. He will continue to spend time in academia now as the new assistant provost and campus director of the University of Georgia Griffin Campus.Hunnicutt joined the university on Nov. 1, 2015, replacing Jerry Arkin, who led the campus for 27 years. He is tasked with guiding the research programs in Griffin as well as the academic program, which is comprised of courses and degrees from five UGA colleges. This is no small task for someone whose high school graduating class consisted of 10 people. “I was the highest ranking boy,” Hunnicutt said. “But seriously, education opened many doors for a boy from a small town in Texas.”Hunnicutt comes to UGA from Frank Phillips College in the Texas Panhandle, where he served as vice president of extended services. During his 12-year tenure there, he led the development of two branch campuses and saw enrollment rise on those campuses from 17 students to more than 300 per year.Building a community-focused academic program is his forte and feels the Griffin Campus is “a great match” for him.“(When I first heard about the position), I thought UGA was too big. But I now have the power of one of the biggest universities in the state (behind me), and I get to live in a great town like Griffin,” he said.He calls the preliminary interviews “a grueling process,” but says answering the questions in the allotted six- to seven-minute timeframes was the hardest part. “It was tough for me to do that. I really had to practice, but I got a call the next day from the vice provost inviting me to come to interview. They said I was the most direct person they interviewed,” he said.Before applying for the position, Hunnicutt strolled the streets of Griffin virtually through Google Maps. After interviewing in Griffin, he gained a feel for the campus. “I saw that this community truly supports the campus. After I interviewed, I really, really wanted this job. I haven’t wanted many things really, really badly, but I wanted this,” he said.He also interviewed with UGA groups in Athens and Griffin, as well as representatives from the Griffin-Spalding County community. Even Georgia’s mid-August humid weather didn’t discourage him.As the successful candidate, Hunnicutt made his home in the Spalding County area of Brooks, just a 10-minute drive from the UGA Griffin Campus. “I grew up in a town of 300 (people), so Griffin is almost metropolitan to me. Everyone I have met has been very friendly and welcoming. I haven’t met one grumpy person yet and that speaks volumes for Griffin,” he said. “I don’t know if all Texans are welcomed as much, but I sure have been.”Now set to focus on his mission, Hunnicutt says the UGA Griffin Campus has already jumped the biggest hurdle of growing an academic program – getting community support. “The community has done so many good things for the university and vice versa. There’s so much potential in Griffin, and we already have the community support and that’s what’s tough to get,” he said. “I don’t care how good your programs are, if you don’t have community support, you will not be successful.”He sees “tremendous potential for growth” in the academic program and plans to target high school students. “I love working and engaging with high school students. I’ve worked with students beginning in as early as fourth grade. They need to know that UGA Griffin is here and that they are going to go to here one day,” he said. Hunnicutt praises the campus’s recruitment efforts, but says more focus needs to be put on helping high school students prepare for the first two years of college that are required for transferring to the Griffin Campus. He’s no stranger to university research, the other major focus of his job. He earned an undergraduate degree in animal science and worked with native grasses, range and grazing management of cattle and sheep in graduate school. “I want to be an involved-in-everything kind of guy. I get to be the head of the spear, but I have a whole bunch of people beneath me doing amazing work,” he said.Hunnicutt has a unique perspective on leading the campus. “I’m going to approach this like eating an elephant; I’m going to take one small bite at a time and eventually finish it. The learning curve is a straight line, and straight up right now, but I thrive on that. I like to call challenges, ‘opportunities.’ We will always be UGA, but we are developing our own style in Griffin that includes the research and academics. From a research standpoint, the 128-year history has made us one of the best and let’s face it, there’s no other better place to get a degree than UGA.”He also plans to work closely with and listen to the UGA Griffin Campus Board of Visitors and the community. “If there is a program we really need to have on the Griffin Campus, let me know. This will allow me to take it up the ladder,” he said. Hunnicutt can be contacted at (770) 228-7263 or lhunnicutt@uga.edu.last_img read more

NICH Meeting

first_imgA new national initiative encourages consumers to add plants to their homes and landscapes for the health benefits plants provide.“Our goal is to grow a healthy world through plants, gardens and landscapes by increasing the number of households in the United States participating in consumer horticulture,” said Bauske, who led the creation of the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH). “Consumer horticulture includes the cultivation, use and enjoyment of plants, gardens, landscapes and related horticultural items.”Ellen Bauske of the University of Georgia’s Center for Urban Agriculture and her colleagues across the nation tout beneficial plant data based on research by Charles Hall, professor and Ellison Chair in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University. This research shows that hospital patients show less fatigue when plants are added to their rooms, and they request less pain medication.In the workplace, people report they’re in a better mood when plants are around. These workers take less sick leave and report less eye strain.In schools, students in classrooms with plants score 10 percent higher on tests than students in classrooms without plants. Students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have less severe symptoms when plants are added to play areas.Indoor plants increase ambient humidity in dry indoor environments, and they improve air quality by removing carbon dioxide. Indoor plants also stimulate physiological and psychological relaxation responses.To develop a plan to share these plant benefits nationwide, NICH held its first national meeting June 27-29 in Atlanta. More than 80 people from across the nation attended, including Amanda Tedrow, the UGA Cooperative Extension county coordinator for Athens-Clarke County, Georgia.“The initiative fits well into our mission at UGA Extension: to improve lives through education, specifically about home gardening and horticulture,” Tedrow said. “It is exciting to see a national initiative based around these same principles, and I’m thrilled to see the rising popularity of plants across the nation. At the conference, I worked with representatives from across the country to think about ways we can improve our communities through horticulture.”More beneficial plant data show that:Plants in the workplace reduce employee sick time by 14 percent.Well-landscaped homes are priced higher. Homes represent 25 percent of personal wealth, so outdoor plants pack a powerful personal-finance punch.Americans are growing more of their own food. In fact, 25 percent of Americans grow berries, vegetables or fruit trees.Shaded roadways save 60 percent of repaving costs.America’s public gardens generate $2.3 billion in tourism spending.For additional information about the NICH, visit www.consumerhort.org. To learn more about the benefits of plants, go to www.consumerhort.org/plantsdothat.last_img read more