Investigating Consumer Preference for Organic, Local, or Sustainable Plants Academic Article uri icon


  • Organically and locally grown food products have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, unlike food products, consumers purchase most outdoor plants for their aesthetic value rather than their nutritional value. Many of the health concerns related to food products might not be applicable to ornamental plants, so the demand for organic non-food plants is unknown. Using a survey with 834 participants from four states, we investigated consumer preference for ornamentals, vegetable transplants, and herbs grown: 1) organically, locally, and sustainably; 2) in energy-efficient greenhouses; and 3) in biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable containers. Our study found that consumers are not enthusiastic about plants or their fertilizers being organic. However, consumers are very interested in plants being produced locally, similar to the public's ever-increasing interest in local food products. Consumers are also interested in purchasing plants in containers that are more sustainable. Among the different types of containers, biodegradable and compostable pots are more desirable than recycled pots.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Yue, C., Dennis, J. H., Behe, B. K., Hall, C. R., Campbell, B. L., & Lopez, R. C.

citation count

  • 49

complete list of authors

  • Yue, Chengyan||Dennis, Jennifer H||Behe, Bridget K||Hall, Charles R||Campbell, Benjamin L||Lopez, Roberto C

publication date

  • April 2011