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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #325965

Title: Developing a national strategic plan for consumer horticulture

item BRADLEY, LUCY - North Carolina State University
item BAUSKE, ELLEN - University Of Georgia
item BEWICK, THOMAS - National Institute Of Food And Agriculture (NIFA)
item CLARK, JOHN - University Of Arkansas
item DURHAM, RICHARD - University Of Kentucky
item LANGELLOTTO, GAIL - Oregon State University
item MYER, MARY - University Of Minnesota
item Pooler, Margaret
item DORN, SHERI - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/5/2016
Publication Date: 8/1/2016
Citation: Bradley, L.K., Bauske, E.M., Bewick, T.A., Clark, J.R., Durham, R.E., Langellotto, G., Myer, M.A., Pooler, M.R., Dorn, S. 2016. Developing a national strategic plan for consumer horticulture. HortTechnology. 26;372-378.

Interpretive Summary: Consumer Horticulture is the cultivation, use, and enjoyment of plants, gardens, landscapes and related horticultural items to the benefit of individuals, communities, and the environment. These activities rely on the understanding and application of the art and science of horticulture. Despite the impact of Consumer Horticulture on human health and well-being and the economy, there is no central funding support mechanism for research, extension, and education in Consumer Horticulture. In 2015, a steering committee developed a first draft of a plan for a National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH), including mission and vision statements, core values, goals, and objectives, which will serve to develop a national, focused, collective vision and voice. The goals of this Initiative are to capitalize on the collective knowledge, networks, and energy of the Consumer Horticulture field; increase visibility and recognizable significance; carry the message to appropriate audiences; build consumer gardening confidence and success; maximize the health, social, and environmental benefits of gardening; and increase value for plants, gardens, and landscapes. The vetting process of the strategic plan will continue nationwide and the results of this process will be posted on the NICH web site (, which is a vehicle for collecting general input, hosting surveys to collect specific plan input, and announcing future meetings and meeting results.

Technical Abstract: Consumer Horticulture encompasses a wide-array of activities that are practiced by and of interest to the gardening public, garden-focused non-governmental organizations, and gardening-related industries. In a previous publication, we described the current lack of funding support for research, extension and education in Consumer Horticulture and outlined the need for a strategic plan. Here, we describe our process and progress in crafting a plan to guide university efforts in Consumer Horticulture, and to unite these efforts with stakeholders’ goals. In 2015, a steering committee developed a first draft of a plan, including mission and vision statements, core values, goals, and objectives. This draft was subsequently presented to and vetted by stakeholders at the 2015 American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardeners (CHMG) working group workshop, a 2015 Master Gardener Coordinators’ webinar, and a 2015 meeting in Washington D.C. Feedback received from these events is being used to refine and focus plan goals and objectives. The most recent working draft of the plan can be found on the website, where stakeholders and other interested parties can register to receive updates and provide input into the process.