Sustainable Practices, Economic Contributions, Consumer Behavior, and Labor Management in the U.S. Environmental Horticulture Industry
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Research is needed to ascertain the potential of the Green Industry to provide jobs and business opportunities to agricultural entrepreneurs displaced by the shrinking number of farms in traditional agriculture. Extensive expansion without regard to regional and national supply and demand for landscape plants could result in instability in the industry and the misallocation of resources. Continued nationwide growth and expansion of this industry will benefit society in general through aesthetic improvement of the environment and by ameliorating pollution in urban areas with living plants. Collaborative research on the production, management and marketing of environmental horticulture products and services will provide insight regarding the proper allocation of resources in the long-run, and permit researchers, extension educators, and consultants to more effectively assist the industry. A multi-state collaborative effort is imperative because these issues are simply too comprehensive for any single researcher to adequately address alone and since state budgets for many land-grant institutions have been cut dramatically in recent years, these collaborative efforts enable the research team to more effectively utilize constrained research dollars in a synergistic fashion. Moreover, since limited granting programs are available to conduct research in this area, the research collaborations (and teams formed) by these multi-state efforts will enable the research teams to more effectively compete for the grant dollars. In short, the days of stand-alone, independent research programs conducted by individual faculty members are long gone..........