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The 2009 ASHS Annual Conference

Understanding Grower Perceptions of Sustainability

Tuesday, July 28, 2009: 1:30 PM
Jefferson C (Millennium Hotel St. Louis)
Tanya J. Hall, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Jennifer Dennis, Dr., Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Roberto Lopez, Purdue Univ, West Lafayete, IN
Sustainable floriculture production is an emerging issue for floriculture producers in the United States, yet most do not have a clear understanding of this topic and varying opinions exist about its importance. The objective of this study is to identify barriers to entry into sustainable practices among floriculture producers. A national convenience sample was conducted via a paper questionnaire and the internet of floriculture producers between June and October, 2008. Approximately 96% of respondents had heard of sustainable floriculture and the majority (65.2%) viewed sustainable practices as “very important” to the environment. More than half (63%) of the respondents already use some type of sustainable practice in their operation. Recycling plastic pots and/or greenhouse glazing materials was the most common sustainable practice producers currently had in place (73%) followed by water recycling and/or water conservation (62%). The top five practices that the growers felt were important to implement included: recycling plastic pots and/or greenhouse glazing, biological controls, conservation of energy, water recycling and/or conservation, and alternative energy sources. Respondents agreed that implementing sustainable practices would be a worthy investment (67.5%) as it was a viable marketing trend in the floriculture industry (63%). However, respondents were uncertain on whether becoming sustainable would generate more profits for their operation (54.9%). Less than half (47.7%) of growers were uncertain whether customers would value sustainable floriculture production practices. Producers either disagreed or were undecided with the statement that the conversion to sustainable production was risky (71.1%).