Harvesting the Sun - A Profile of World Horticulture
Horticulture has an image problem. Most people—when they think about horticulture at all—think of the subject in small terms, as merely a pastime synonymous with gardening. This misconception devalues one of humanity's most significant scientific, economic, and aesthetic pursuits—and before you dismiss this as an exaggeration, imagine your physical and mental health in a world without fruits and vegetables, parks and play fields, flowers and trees.
Consider some of the most pressing questions of this century: Can we feed 9 billion people by 2050 while conserving water, land, atmosphere, and habitat? Can we reverse the human and financial costs of an increasingly popular lifestyle that provides too many calories and too little fiber, vitamins, minerals, and exercise? In emerging countries, can we reduce poverty and improve nutrition by expanding crop production, increasing yields, managing supply chains more effectively, and limiting spoilage and wastage? In wealthier countries where costs for land, water, energy, and labor are high, can we sustain rural livelihoods and conserve open spaces by investing in economically and environmentally sustainable ways to grow fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants, and other specialty crops? Horticulture has a key part to play in tackling each of these challenges, but to attract the necessary talent and resources this green industry must raise its public profile.
Seeking to share horticulture's scope and value with a wide readership, the International Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS) has released Harvesting the Sun: A Profile of World Horticulture. This full-color, extensively illustrated 70-page report examines how horticulture touches all of us. Harvesting the Sun traces the farm-to-table journey using simple language and informative graphics. It highlights innovations in crop breeding, production, and handling, presenting recent advances in how to control pests and diseases, promote food safety, and minimize post-harvest losses. It explores how horticulture offers myriad paths to economic growth, and offers insights into how the cultivation of plants nourishes the spirit as well as the body.
Horticulture encompasses a remarkable range of technologies, from sacks of soil that allow landless vegetable gardeners to enrich their diet and income to the automated efficiency of controlled greenhouses, sorting machinery that can sense texture or color, and packaging that combats post-purchase waste by informing customers when produce is at peak ripeness. Horticulture, which offers employment and advancement opportunities at all educational levels, finds itself in a time of transformation. The need for knowledge workers like the 7,500 members of ISHS is growing, even as fewer students pursue academic training in horticulture in many universities around the world. And while the Government-funded extension programs that connect producers with horticultural experts are being cut back in many developed nations, the creation of distance learning networks is allowing farmers in developing countries, many of whom are women, to access global extension services via mobile phones. Like these evolving extension efforts, Harvesting the Sun brings the benefits of horticultural science to the attention of a wider audience.
ISHS hopes that its publication will spark new interest in the people and processes that coax fruits, roots, leaves, and flowers to yield health, wealth, and beauty worldwide. We trust that you can use this attractive publication (and the associated brochure) to promote the importance of horticulture and horticultural science to your colleagues, friends, educators, politicians, and policy makers. Their perspectives on your profession will influence future commitments to education, training, and both public and private investment.
ISHS Project Coordinators: Prof. Errol Hewett, Prof. Ian Warrington and Dr. Chris Hale
Download the Scripta Horticulturae order form to order this publication in print.
Do not hesitate to contact ISHS in case you have other requirements for either teaching or advocacy purposes and would want to order multiple copies of Harvesting the Sun or in case you would want to produce a translated or otherwise customized version of Harvesting the Sun for specific use in your country or within your organization.