Van Belle Nursery was started in 1973 by Bill and Grace Van Belle and it is still running strong under the second generation of growers, Dave and Amy Van Belle. Together with their five children, nieces, nephews, and a dedicated team of employees, they grow millions of starter and finished landscape plants that ship all over North America each year.
Check out our interview with Dave and Amy below:
WHL: Can you describe your operation?
Dave & Amy Van Belle: Our plant nursery is in Abbotsford, BC, where we have 100 acres of land including 15 acres of greenhouse. As a wholesale nursery, we sell plants to other growers, as well as to retail locations across North America. We are key producers of Bloomin’ Easy® and Proven Winners® ColorChoice® flowering shrubs.
WHL: What kind of technology/innovation do you use in your business?
Dave & Amy Van Belle: One of our core values is “find a better way”, so we are always attempting to improve things for our people, customers, and the environment. Many of the innovations we use help us to reduce our environmental impact, such as reducing plastic waste. Most recently, we became the first in our industry to sell plants in a Flow Pot which is made from river and ocean-bound sources and post-consumer recycled plastics.
We focus on saving water and energy through actions like water reclamation, rainwater harvesting, and automation of greenhouses and production processes. Another successful innovation has been our own waterproof, recyclable cardboard boxes, which we engineered. Our team is constantly innovating and coming up with new and better plants, and improved processes. We are limited only by our collective imagination.
WHL: You have a large team of employees. What does your workforce mean to you?
Dave & Amy Van Belle: Caring for our people is critical to us because it’s the right thing to do. Everyone is valuable and has gifts and abilities to contribute. My favorite thing about our farm is the people we have working here. We have a great team of people who are gaining opportunities and fulfilling potential while producing a feel-good product.
Fortunately, we’re able to employ people from all over the world that bring amazing knowledge and skills to our nursery. In return, we offer uncommon benefits like open book management and profit sharing that helps them achieve more from their careers while we achieve more as a company. It helps with retention, too—some people have been with us for more than 20 years.
WHL: Why do you choose to be farmers?
Dave & Amy Van Belle: Farming is a truly rewarding experience and provides great value to the world. Our dream is that each member of our team gets to realize their own dreams through our company. Plants are great, but people are why we do what we do.