Social and Cultural Environment

  • Consumer Horticulture will continue to flourish as individuals and institutions recognize and appreciate the benefits of gardening including physical and mental health; quality of life; and social well-being.
  • As concerns about foodborne illness, pesticides, bio-technology, and environmental impacts increase, people will become more invested in growing some of their own food.
  • The re-settlement of downtown areas will promote interest in smaller space gardening (“square foot”, bio-intensive, permaculture, windowsill, roof-top) as well as micro-parks, community gardens, and urban farms.
  • The value consumers place on reducing inputs and gardening in an ecologically sound manner will grow.
  • There will be increased interest in getting children outdoors to provide opportunities for discovery and environmental stewardship with formal and informal nature education.
  • Information organization and delivery will evolve to match technological opportunity and consumer demand.

Governmental/Political Environment

  • Municipal decisions makers will recognize the public value of Consumer Horticulture leading them to modify long-term development plans even though there is a cost to doing so.
  • Decision makers will begin to understand the role of a healthy environment in promoting an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits and so will increase their focus on landscape design for health.
  • Alternative development approaches, such as green roofs, will grow in popularity.
  • Drought will impact large geographic regions across the United States, which will result in further regulations and restrictions on private water use.
  • Increased interest in protecting soil and water quality for urban, suburban, and rural landscapes will lead to enabling legislation for the use of gray water and other water-saving technologies.
  • Demand for outdoor/nature/horticultural education will inspire legislation including it as a standard of in our education system.
  • Consumer Horticulture may be affected by federal and state environmental regulations, but such regulations will continue to be hampered by the polarized debate over economic impacts vs. environmental benefits.

Economic/Business Environment

  • People will continue to have disposable income sufficient to engage in Consumer Horticulture.
  • Personal economic benefit will not be a driving factor for Consumer Horticulture growth
  • Horticultural industries will expand marketing past baby boomers to younger groups of consumers.
  • Time and perceived effort will be the major limiting factor in engaging people in Consumer Horticulture.
  • Industry marketing efforts will increasingly emphasize practices and products perceived by consumers to be more environmentally friendly.
  • Government and private-sector stakeholders will organize efforts to elevate the perceived relevance and value of Consumer Horticulture.
  • A slowed economic recovery will benefit some Consumer Horticulture commercial sectors.
  • Industry will take a more prominent role in education and outreach including the use of technology to enhance horticultural experiences.
  • Maintaining market share will require Consumer Horticulture industries to respond nimbly to consumer preferences for more environmentally friendly products.

Science and Technology Environment

  • Increased public and commercial interest in Consumer Horticulture will lead academia to commit more resources (staff and funding) for extension, research and teaching including in allied disciplines such as Plant Pathology, Entomology and Soil Science.
  • Environmental concerns, such as drought and resource pollution, will drive the development of technologies that support healthy and productive plants.
  • The demand for quick and easy access to information will drive Consumer Horticulture professionals to become more effective in using technology to provide information. This will include establishing greater demand for research-based information.
  • Global commerce will exacerbate the arrival of invasive species of plants and animals, putting increasing pressure on agencies responsible for interdiction, surveillance, and management strategies.

Agricultural Environment

  • Consumer Horticulture will benefit commercial activity.
  • Water shortages across the country will necessitate the development of water conservation measures including developing cultivars that require less water.
  • Consumer Horticulture will promote a new plant aesthetic that addresses:
    • Increased environmental stewardship by consumers leading to fewer external inputs
    • New limitations placed on the tools currently used for pest management.
    • The introduction of non-beneficial insects, diseases, weeds and invasive plants
  • Research in sustainable gardening methods and sustainable landscape planning will provide strategies for Consumer Horticulture to meet future challenges.
  • Protective structures will be used in Consumer Horticulture to expand the types of plants and extend the season to increase the productivity of gardens.
  • Consumer Horticulture will promote a systems based approach to pest management and overall landscape health.