Established in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science is recognized around the world as one of the most respected and influential professional societies for horticultural scientists. ASHS is committed to promoting and encouraging national and international interest in scientific research and education in all branches of horticulture. Comprised of thousands of members worldwide, ASHS represents a broad cross-section of the horticultural community - scientists, educators, students, landscape and turf managers, government, extension agents and industry professionals. ASHS members focus on practices and problems in horticulture: breeding, propagation, production and management, harvesting, handling and storage, processing, marketing and use of horticultural plants and products.
- We are researchers, teachers, and extension educators.
- We work at universities, in all levels of government, and in different areas of industry.
- We are in every state and much of the world.
- Our members use horticultural science to address major issues facing our nation and our world.
- Provide the research that keeps our fruit, vegetable, turf, and ornamental crop producers competitive and allows them to raise their crops sustainability.
- Educate tomorrow’s researchers and teachers in specialty crops.
- Educate tomorrow’s fruit, vegetable, floral, and nursery crop growers.
- Translate the latest fundamental research into products and practices that improve our health, communities, and environment.
- Improve rural economies by supporting profitable horticultural production.
- Train the stewards of our urban and suburban environment.
- Improve food security in central cities by making urban farms and gardens successful.
- Improve sports and recreation through better natural playing surfaces.
Horticulture is the science and art of producing, improving, marketing, and using fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants. It differs from botany and other plant sciences in that horticulture incorporates both science and aesthetics.
Production and consumption of high quality fruits and vegetables allows us to maintain a healthy, balanced daily diet. Flowers and ornamental plants enrich our homes and communities, and contribute to our sense of well-being. Horticulture impacts our lives on a daily basis by providing nutritious fruits and vegetables, offering visual enjoyment, and promoting recreational activities.
A brief survey completed by members of ASHS about careers in horticulture, suggested how we could improve the perception and promotion of horticultural careers. Using your feedback, ASHS, along with Longwood Gardens, National Junior Horticultural Association, American Public Gardens Association, American Horticultural Society, and AmericanHort started a national study of horticulture. Our first step was to send a letter and brief white paper to nearly 800 botanic gardens; horticultural associations, businesses, and media; and universities and 2 year colleges asking for their agreement of the project. The response was and continues to be overwhelmingly positive for this work, including an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that was copied in additional media, such as HispanicBusiness.com. We are especially encouraged by businesses, associations, botanic gardens, and individuals who not only recognized this issue, but have started training programs, scholarships, promotions, and other activities to promote horticulture, especially horticultural careers.
Working on a national basis, we will define the current perception of horticulture within and outside of the industry. From youth and general public with no affiliation to horticulture to those in industry and academia, we will determine the current perception of horticulture, especially horticultural careers. The second part of the initiative will be to develop an educational and marketing program that will change the limited and narrow perception of horticulture to the reality of what it is really entails. We are aware of similar initiatives: American Floral Endowment’s memorable video 'Murder, Sex and Greed;” Planet, and ANLA, along with ASHS, developed theLandlovers.org, a career website for the landscape industry. Bracy Nursery’s (Amite City, LA) 'Sell the Benefits” promotes the often overlooked benefits of plants; and The Pattie Group’s training programs for young people are examples of independent businesses and market segments addressing the broad tapestry of horticulture. Cal Poly’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science developed the 'Learn, Do, Lead” slogan, one any parent would be proud to show to their son or daughter.
Changing the perception of horticulture is a big goal. We DO NOT want to re-invent the wheel or overlook what has already been done. We want to learn from what has been done and develop a national program with Common Core educational components for teachers to open the door to horticulture for K–12 students and for guidance counselors to see the opportunity and the need for students to pursue horticultural careers.
In June 2014, FleishmanHillard was selected as the communications firm to develop the national initiative including research, education, advocacy and marketing of horticulture. During 2014-15 research is being conducted with focus groups at national horticulture conferences.