SUSTAINABLE HORTICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: MORE THAN JUST ORGANIC PRODUCTION
In the age of globalization, sustainability and rural development are intimately connected and ultimately challenged. Sustainability is vague and so co-opted as to be almost meaningless, while rural development is often reduced to economic development, without any consideration of how this could affect sustainability. Amidst such confusion, what does sustainable horticulture mean and how can it contribute to rural development? This paper will present a new meaning for sustainability, tying it to the concept of the civil commons. From this baseline of understanding, it will then give fresh meaning to the term sustainable horticulture, allowing it to become a vehicle for the improvement of human and environmental well-being, not a means of making ever-increasing private profits, regardless of the social, environmental and even economic costs. The organic approach to production forms a natural alliance with sustainability, blending to produce a form of horticulture that has the potential to be economically constructive, socially responsible and environmentally sound. Such a sustainable horticulture would contribute to rural development in the full sense of the term, not as endless growth for rootless investors but as the unfolding of potential for more than just the lucky few. In our globalized world, four out of every five people have been made poor, the climate has been destabilized and we experience endless war for control of dwindling resources. Horticulture can either exacerbate these problems or help to solve them. A truly sustainable horticulture would not only be organic, but also produce social, environmental and economic justice, thus contributing to rural development on a global scale and becoming part of what has been referred to as sustainable globalization.
Sumner, J. (2008). SUSTAINABLE HORTICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT: MORE THAN JUST ORGANIC PRODUCTION. Acta Hortic. 767, 111-122
civil commons, globalization, organic horticulture, sustainability