If you’re a member of one of the 84 million households in the U.S. who’s actively engaged in gardening and landscaping activities, I encourage you to become a member of NICH (rhymes with pitch): the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture. The term Consumer Horticulture may appear foreign to you, but it encompasses the wide range of “gardening” activities that occur indoors and out, including but not limited to growing and maintaining edibles, ornamentals, and lawns, and creating gardens to attract pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. Those of us engaged in consumer horticulture activities do it for all kinds of reasons, but not for monetary gain.
NICH’s mission is to “grow a healthy world through plants, gardens and landscapes.” In short, NICH seeks to cultivate a passion and appreciation for plants, while increasing a universal demand for gardening. This organization creates a unified voice to promote the benefits and value of horticulture. NICH brings together academia, government, industry and nonprofits to cultivate the growth and development of a healthy world through landscapes, gardens and plants – indoors and out.
On June 27-29, 2018 I attended the third meeting of the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture in Atlanta. It was my first meeting and an unforgettable experience. I had face-to-face discussions with close to 80 U.S. green industry leaders and innovators that hailed from academia, industry, and associations. We developed a strategic plan to achieve NICH’s goal of uniting all stakeholders in consumer horticulture to get 90% of U.S. households gardening by 2025. Important components of the plan addressed ways of growing consumer horticulture, building unified engagement across consumer horticulture, and ensuring federal, state and other sources of funding.
NICH created a fun and informative series of #PLANTSDOTHAT infographics that promote the benefits of consumer horticulture:
- Plants Do That
- Plants Do That Where We Live
- Plants Do That Where We Learn
- Plants Do That Where We Work
- Plants Do That Where We Heal
In the Plants Do That inforgraphic, plants benefit society in many ways:
- Plants in the workplace reduce employee sick time by 14%
- Well-landscaped homes are more valuable; since homes represent 25% of personal wealth, outdoor plants pack a powerful personal finance punch
- American’s are growing more of their own food—25% of all Americans grow berries, veggies or fruit trees
- Shaded roadways save 60% of repaving costs
- America’s public gardens generate $2.3 billion in tourism spending
NICH represents the end-use side of horticulture, which ultimately serves the general public—consumer like us. To join NICH or learn more about the initiative, visit www.consumerhort.org. Members have the opportunity to interact with other engaged individuals who strive to use consumer horticulture to cultivate healthy communities and protect and conserve our natural resources.