The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI, http://www.hriresearch.org/index.cfm?CFID=3091449&CFTOKEN=9770b19afd6c8a8a-B86B114A-EBB5-2AA1-DA7804DCD537A833) was established in 1962 to support and promote research benefitting the landscape and nursery industry and horticultural professionals. HRI is the research arm of AmericanHort (http://americanhort.org/) which is the consolidation of the OFA, The Association of Horticultural Professionals and ANLA, the American Nursery and Landscape Association. Recently HRI received $200,000 in gifts and donations and has decided to launch 3 new research initiatives. The funds were raised during the Horticultural Research Institute’s Donor Reception, which occurs bi-annually. Last month’s event was held in Columbus, OH where over 200 industry professionals gathered to celebrate and support research and each other. The 3 deserving causes to be funded by the HRI are under working titles of; Collaborative Garden Retail Research, Collaborative AmericanHort Research Fund and the Collaborative Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. As you can surmise, collaboration was a strong theme at the fundraising event.
Collaborative Garden Retail Research
“The Future of Garden Retail” is a study planned to engage interdisciplinary stakeholders to collaborate to develop ideas that will expand the industry of garden retail. AmericanHort and HRI have teamed with the MindMarket program from the Columbus College of Art and Design to construct a design approach to market research of the industry. This study should take approximately 1 year and will employ 1,000 students, association members, consumers and industry professionals to investigate problems and identify solutions for the future of horticulture. The goal of this research is more than making stores and nurseries more attractive, it is about truly evaluating and improving value of products and services and engaging consumers.
Collaborative AmericanHort Research Fund
The aim of the AmericanHort Research Fund is to ensure the success of all sectors of the horticultural industry through advocacy, collaboration, connectivity, education, market development and research. The fund was initially established by AmericanHort themselves with a pledge of $50,000 and the issue of a matching challenge to the industry; for every dollar raised, up to $50,000 AmericanHort will match the funding 100%. The challenge remains in place through 2015.
Collaborative Pollinator Stewardship Initiative
The Horticultural Research Institute is leading the charge on the healthy pollinator initiative. This drive to action intends to develop a pollinator stewardship management plan to improve circumstances regarding pollinator health concerns, fund scientific exploration to answer key questions to support responsible stewardship and to increase awareness among horticultural industry professionals and customers about improving pollinators’ situation while concurrently stemming the spread of invasive species and mitigating pests which threaten the environment. The horticultural industry has a large concern for pollinator health and requires the input and assistance of all industry professionals to continue the plight.