The Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) is an integral part of Florida's $15.2 billion environmental horticulture industry. The association believes that they represent a vibrant network of professionals who strive to make Florida's nursery industry successful. As a member of the association, growers, landscape professionals, brokers, retail garden centers, allied suppliers and other industry members are given the opportunity to work together, as one group, to strengthen the future of the nursery and landscape industry.
The history of the organization goes back to 1951, when the Florida State Nurserymen was a part of the Florida State Florist and Nurserymen Association. In that year, some of the nurserymen members believed that the Florida nursery industry was growing and that the concerns of the nurserymen were not being shared by the florist group. Several members got together and began the planning to create a separate organization. The first official meeting was held in Miami in May 1952. Since then the association has gained strength and popularity. In 1993, FNGLA absorbed the Florida Foliage Association, followed by the Florida Ornamental Growers association in 1995 and then, in 1999, the Florida Landscape Designers Association. It was during this period of growth that the association established itself as one of the largest and most active nursery associations in the country with a membership base of more than 1,800 professionals.
As the association moves into its sixth decade, the association provides a wealth of information and services for its members, and the entire industry at-large. There are 18 chapters throughout Florida which provide grassroots support; educational resources; events and FNGLA certifications to its members. On the state level, FNGLA operates the FNGLA-PAC, a separate fund which supports candidates and advocates legislation that promotes and protects the nursery and landscape industry's interests at the state capital. The association says that their PAC's sole purpose is to increase visibility and provide campaign assistance—on a bi-partisan basis—to Florida state legislators and candidates who actively support the industry. It should be noted that the PAC's money cannot be used for lobbying purposes.
The association also provides a means by which its members can achieve certification this allows the industry to prove that it can regulate itself in the absence of state licensure; increases its professionalism and public image and educates consumers on the various levels of service within the industry. For members and businesses who receive certification it demonstrates to consumers the ability to perform according to industry standards.
At present, FNGLA presents six different certifications ranging from Horticultural Professional (FCHP) and Landscape Contractor (FCLC) to Landscape Designer (FCLD). In order to receive these credentials, members must attend classes at accredited horticultural schools and certification training classes. Once the training is complete the association administers an exam, a member must pass this exam in order to receive certification. The education doesn't stop there, once a member receives certification they are required to earn continuing education units in order to renew their certifications every three years.