Multi-state extension publication series highlights benefits of consumer horticulture to society and provides basis for further education efforts

N. Bumgarner, E. Bauske, P. Bennett, D. Close, S. Dorn, R. Durham, C. Evensen, T. James, H. Kirk-Ballard, J. Kuehny, B. Pennisi, R. Polomski, K. Smith, K. Walberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A multi-institutional team of horticulture extension educators and researchers have come together as the Consumer Horticulture Extension, Research, and Education Coordinating Committee (SCC85, This SCC85 group also serves as the Academic Council of the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH,, an organization comprised of members from every facet of the green industry whose mission is to promote consumer horticulture. The SCC85 has released a series of six extension publications connecting current scientific literature to the benefits of consumer horticulture to various aspects of society. After the overview publication connects people with plants, the series follows a nested ecological model, starting with benefits to individuals and families and expanding to housing and residential areas, schools and communities, businesses and workplaces, and finally the environment. This effort involved 14 individuals across 8 institutions working over 14 months. These publications are housed on six state extension websites and collectively are linked from NICH website ( These publications form the basis for ongoing efforts aimed at educating extension audiences and the public regarding the benefits of consumer horticulture. Once informed, it is predicted that additional consumers will participate more fully in horticultural activities involving a diverse range of goods, services, and learning opportunities. This paper will provide an overview of these publications and discuss our efforts toward developing educational materials targeting Extension Master Gardener volunteers, secondary- and higher-education students, and green industry producers and consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-176
Number of pages8
JournalActa Horticulturae
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
To address the challenges in research and outreach in consumer horticulture, academicians and extension practitioners have focused on collaborative efforts to pool time and resources and supply the critical mass often lacking at individual institutions. One of the first instances of these consumer horticulture collaborations was the Landscapes for Better Living: Southern Extension and Research Association (SERA44) that was organized through the Southern Association of Agriculture Experiment Station Director (SAAESD). This SERA group was a multistate research and activities group funded by Hatch Multistate Research Funds. The goal of SERA44 was to facilitate collaborative research and outreach within the established administrative framework for land-grant academics. SERA44 was successful in bringing together faculty and extension specialists from across the south as well as the midwestern and the western regions. In 2016, SERA44 was replaced by Consumer Horticulture Extension, Research, and Education Coordinating Committee (SCC85). Administrative responsibilities of an SCC are lower than a SERA. Participation in the SCC85 has been consistently between 15 and 20 land-grant faculty or extension specialists.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 International Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.


  • Collaborative publishing
  • Community
  • Environment
  • Family
  • Health
  • Master gardener
  • NICH
  • School gardening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Horticulture


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