J. Sumner
In the age of globalization, horticultural science stands at a crossroads – its past in question and its future uncertain. The dominant pressures of the age demand that horticultural science serves the requirements of transnational corporations, which claim to act as proxies for larger human and environmental interests, and the desire for legitimacy on the world stage makes this option attractive. But the fiduciary duty of transnational corporations to increase profits for private stockholders is deeply at odds with supporting basic human needs, community survival and environmental sustainability, and this duty is often rigorously carried out at the expense of these vital aspects of the public good. Will horticultural science remake itself by serving the public good or private enrichment? Partnering with private, for-profit corporations to develop new technologies, including biotechnology, and global market opportunities for the poor assumes a trickle-down effect of benefits, while in reality what trickles down is increased human insecurity, community fragmentation and environmental despoliation. Serving the public good means promoting public-public partnerships, ensuring public ownership of new technologies, carrying out research that serves public, not private, interests, encouraging co-operative business ventures, engaging in fair trade, participating in organic forms of production and encouraging local economies. By choosing to serve the public good, horticultural science would become part of what can be understood as truly sustainable horticulture.
Sumner, J. (2007). HORTICULTURAL SCIENCE AND THE PUBLIC GOOD. Acta Hortic. 762, 423-426
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2007.762.42
globalization, public-public partnerships, sustainable horticulture, transnational corporations

Acta Horticulturae