Omaha greenhouse experiencing severe worker shortage, delaying planting season

Omaha's Hanscom Park Greenhouse is in need of some extra helping hands.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:51 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - This year it may not feel like spring. The city greenhouse that’s in charge of planting flowers and plants around Omaha is experiencing a worker shortage.

Every year the goal is to have the plants at Hanscom Park Greenhouse planted around the city in parks, libraries, and community centers. That’s a tough task with just four workers on the job.

Brett Harmon, like his coworkers at Hanscom Park Greenhouse, has worked long hours.

“It makes it harder for us because it puts a lot of strain on very few people,” Harmon said. “We have a small window of time when to plant and plants do better when we get them out quickly at the right time, but sometimes we’re too late on some things,” Harmon said.

Harmon doesn’t mind the long hours when he’s doing something he loves and that’s making the city look better.

“It’s a really cool feeling,” he said.

The greenhouse relies primarily on seasonal help. Since 2020, they’ve seen a 60% decrease in those workers.

”We’re in desperate need when we have 80,000 flowers to put in, let alone maintain park spaces around town,” said Josh Fry, Omaha’s parks and facilities manager.

Despite Harmon having a lot on his plate in the next few months, he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“People appreciate that, and some people do not recognize every plant and every flower, but they recognize that it looks better,” Harmon said.

Hanscom Park Greenhouse expects to plant around 300 garden beds this season. They’re still in need of workers apply to join the team.