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MELA is an association of green industry professionals dedicated to adopting sustainable designs, methods and materials as standard practice. MELA helps define effective strategies and technologies that will help get us to sustainability and beyond.

Through best practices, measurable standards and validated certification programs, we believe the green industry can become a partner in a sustained and regenerated world.

The Midwest Ecological Landscaping Association was organized in 2002 by Mike Nowak and Connie Cunningham, as a grass-roots networking and educational organization. Its original purpose was:

  • Promoting environmentally responsible landscaping and horticultural practices to professionals and to the public
  • Serving as an educational and scientific resource for the horticulture industry

The original vision of MELA was to contribute in a meaningful way to the regular use of ecologically sound practices for landscape care and management. This vision was articulated long before the sustainability movement gathered much steam and positions MELA to be a major partner with the landscape industry in promoting sustainability today.

In 2008, MELA refined a new mission statement and articulated its own role in the sustainability movement for the future.

MELA’s Vision for the future is that the use of sustainable design, materials, and methods will be the professional standard of the green industry.

MELA’s role in bringing this vision to reality will be to develop and promote standards and best practices for sustainability in the green industry in Chicago.

MELA is uniquely positioned to take on this role because:

  • MELA has been advocating and teaching sustainability since long before it was popular
  • MELA represents the concerns of the horticulture industry broadly
  • MELA collaborates with other industry organizations
  • MELA has become known within the industry for its expertise in understanding and promoting sustainability
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