The Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association is rooted in a long tradition of horticulture. In 1919, the Rhode Island Nurserymen’s Association (RINA) was formed by a small group of Rhode Island retail and wholesale nurserymen.
The Rhode Island horticultural industry is made up of multi-generation family businesses whose hard work helped to showcase Rhode Island growers as some of the world’s pre-eminent propagators and growers of trees and shrubs. As the organization grew in the early 1960s, the RINA board of directors expanded the membership to include the landscape industry and sod farms that were switching out of potato production.
With the ever-increasing number of firms relating to the environmental horticultural industry joining the association, the Board of Directors decided, in 1990, to change the association name to the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association (RINLA).Today, the organization is the leading professional trade association that serves the horticultural, agricultural and landscape industry and promotes environmental stewardship. Our members, known as “green industry,” include nurseries, landscape contractors, arborists, irrigation specialists, masons, garden centers, turf farms, landscape architects, landscape designers, vegetable growers, cut flower growers and many others. RINLA is also dedicated to promoting the highest professional standards (licenses, certification, insurance, etc.) and also provides our members many ways to further develop their professional skills and network with other green industry professionals.
A 2009 economic impact study conducted by the New England Nursery Association (NENA) states that in Rhode Island at least 11,000 people were employed in the green industry. The survey also confirmed that the environmental horticulture industry paid an estimated $150 million dollars to employees including benefits, almost half (42%) of the state’s agricultural income. This survey also states that $354 million dollars in revenue was produced through environmental horticulture, which includes production (nurseries, greenhouses, turf grass, cut flowers), retail (garden centers and florists), landscape services (landscape design, installation, maintenance, lawn care, tree care). Rhode Island’s nurseries and sod farms are keeping an estimated 31,000 acres in agriculture, of which 41 percent is open space and 21 percent is in a land preservation program.
RINLA members will continue to play a vital and integral role in a sustainable Rhode Island. The association’s farmers and the landscape industries will continue to explore new territory in sustainable agriculture and livable communities.