WSU students develop professional skills at landscaping and horticulture show

By Carmen Chandler, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Spanning three days and showcasing industry leaders, experts, and vendors, Portland, Ore.’s yearly Farwest Show is the biggest landscaping and horticulture industry event in the West. The expo creates a space for plant enthusiasts to exchange ideas, show off new products, and sell upcoming varieties.  

Two Washington State University juniors majoring in landscape, nursery, and greenhouse management (LNGM) attended this year’s Farwest Show.  

Each summer, LNGM faculty offer their students a chance to attend this conference for free. Katie Weaver and Kiera Wirt answered the call, jumping at the opportunity to learn more about their industry. The Farwest Show exposed the students to an environment that fostered exploration and professional development, introducing them to new career options such as horticulture marketing and industry product management. 

Three people stand at the bottom of a staircase in a garden.
Advisor Adelaide Snider (left), Katie Weaver (center), and Kiera Wirt (right) at the Farwest Show in Portland, Ore.

The expo offered many showcases for participants to continue their education, including the “Women in Horticulture” networking event and the “Overcoming Substrate Shortages with a Proven Solution” mini-session. During these showcases, key speakers discussed their research, products, and professional developments within the industry. Students were able to look behind the scenes of the landscaping industry, previewing technology such as brand-new cultivator designs that they could vote on.  

Weaver said this behind-the-scenes look helped her get in touch with the landscaping community. For many students, an industry event of this size is their first look into the possibilities of landscaping. 

Internships and career opportunities were at the heart of the student experience at the Farwest Show. Wirt and Weaver developed their professional skills when meeting with potential employers, collecting business cards, and learning about what companies are looking for in internship applicants.  

Wirt and Weaver both encourage current LNGM students to explore the Farwest Show next year. The trip is free of cost, making it a great opportunity for students who want to learn more about the landscaping industry or get involved in upcoming internships.