Labor shortages in horticulture aren’t simply a matter of people not wanting to work but wanting to work differently. Colleges and universities are listening by offering horticulture degrees more aligned with today’s increasing interest in sustainability.
Washington Post reporter Heather Long says, “A lot of people want to do something different with their lives than they did before the pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak has had a dramatic psychological effect on workers, and people are reassessing what they want to do and how they want to work.”
Colleges and universities currently offer horticulture degrees in environmental horticulture, which has often been referred to as the art and science of improving the world around us through the use of plants and other natural elements. But of late, colleges and universities have begun offering additional programs and certificates surrounding sustainable horticulture as the industry gradually shifts towards more eco-friendly practices.
One of the compelling reasons for the gradual shift towards sustainable horticulture stems from consumers’ unwavering interest in more environmentally responsible lifestyles, which you can read about in our post, Sustainable Growing Containers Are Top-of-Mind for Today’s Gardeners.
The more environmentally responsible consumers become, the more stewards will be needed in sustainable horticulture to help guide consumers through the growing and gardening process. In addition, many high school graduates interested in the environment see these new horticulture degrees as an opportunity for their higher education and future career path.
While the programs consist of core competencies such as basic and advanced horticulture, the overall theme is understanding the best practices necessary for gardening with as little negative impact on the environment as possible through production, utilization, and maintenance.
Bakersfield College, located in California’s agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley, says, “Environmental horticulture is one of the fastest-growing segments of agriculture in the nation, and professionals in all aspects of this active “green” industry are in high demand. Whether you are interested in greenhouse or nursery production, retailing or marketing products, golf course/turf management, or any aspect of the landscape industry, this is your field.”
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