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Chain of Life Network links research and practice in new format, within new partnership

The Chain of Life Network is back in a streamlined, updated format with new university partners. The network is an online resource of floral production, post-harvest care and handling, and marketing information designed for every stage of the supply chain from breeders and growers to retailers. It was initiated in 2002 by George Staby, a former Ohio State University professor and researcher who heads the Perishables Research Organization in Elk Grove, CA.

The new format, streamlined down to 83 pages with more computer-friendly technology like YouTube access, responsive design and sub-navigation to make it easier to retrieve information, made its debut Sept. 9. The service has the same Internet address as the old website ( and remains free of charge. Staby will serve users as a personal guide to the massive database offline of close to 20,000 pages.

Staby and his wife, Kathleen, run the Chain of Life Network. The couple is retiring and their work on maintaining and updating the network will be augmented by four university professors: Bridget Behe of Michigan State University, John Dole of North Carolina State University, Michelle Jones of Ohio State and Michael Reid of the University of California-Davis.

Users can sign up to receive monthly email reports with the latest production, post-harvest and marketing articles, references, videos and related information. Also, links are presented to hundreds of articles, companies, services, products and experts — all related to the production, care and handling, and marketing of floral crops.

The Chain of Life Network offers a new free service: Users can put their questions directly to Staby via email or by phone consultation, or can arrange with him for site visits or to present webinars, workshops and programs. These services are free, with donations optional.

Before the advent of the Internet, a Chain of Life training program was started in 1976 in post-harvest handling of floral crops by Staby and his colleagues at Ohio State, Jerry Robertson and D.C. Kiplinger, and Charles Conover at the University of Florida. It was administered by the Society of American Florists starting in 1978, then resurrected as the Chain of Life Network by Staby in 2002.

Some of the Chain of Life Network database will also be available online on the new Floriculture InfoSearch Engine at North Carolina State. This floriculture archive dates back to the 1800s.