E.W. Hewett, I.J. Warrington
Horticulture is recognised as a high value sector of agriculture. It provides phytonutrients essential for human health, with higher economic returns per unit area than staple food crops and has the potential to contribute to attainment of many Millennium Development Goals. However the image of horticulture has diminished as urban drift, especially in developed countries, has continued over the past 30 years and people have become removed from the realities of food production systems that sustain them. This diminution of the importance of horticulture in the eyes of the public is reflected in the continued reduction in number of students enrolling in university horticultural science courses in many countries, a reduction in funding for research and extension activities, and loss of R&D capability. In turn this has resulted in closure of traditional horticultural departments or alternatively amalgamation or merging with other departments and then being renamed with an amorphous title that removed the ‘brand name’ horticulture or horticultural science. The International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) recognises the serious implications of such a decline in education and training of horticultural science professionals essential for careers in a diverse range of horticultural science related activities in government, university and private laboratories, extension personnel working with farmers, managers of production and export facilities producing fruit, vegetables, flowers, grape vines, and managing parks and reserves. Following the International Horticultural Congress, Lisbon, Portugal 2010, an ISHS taskforce made a number of recommendations to the ISHS Board of Directors to take urgent action to try and change the public perception of horticulture, to articulate the diversity of horticulture, the wide range of career paths available, and the many public benefits that result from application of horticultural science. The main but not sole outcome was publication of the book “Harvesting the Sun” aimed at senior school students, parents, politicians at all levels from local, to national to international. This is available as a hard copy or on line. The global importance of horticulture and horticultural science was illustrated with a large number of figures, tables and photographs accompanied with a series of pertinent cameo cases reflecting the significance and diverse range of crops and disciplines that constitute horticulture. In addition a foldout poster version was prepared using photo and cameo material from the book; this is particularly aimed at school students. A video slide show has been produced that can used in a variety of venues and occasions to complement the book and to assist in conveying the importance of this sector to humanity.
Hewett, E.W. and Warrington, I.J. (2014). CREATION OF HARVESTING THE SUN: A PROFILE OF WORLD HORTICULTURE. Acta Hortic. 1051, 15-22
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1051.1
advocacy for horticulture, promotion of horticulture, diversity of horticulture, health, wealth and wellbeing with horticulture