Unrelenting, continuous advocacy gains political support. "When the roads lobby calls, ministers answer the phone" is a classic example. Horticulture now has a new, powerful piece of international advertising.
Harvesting the Sun colourfully describes who we are, what we do and what we are worth. Clever graphics summarise the economic power of supply chains handling 2.4 billion tonnes of fresh produce worth US$180bn per annum in world trade.
The specialist knowledge demanded for safe, nutritious food that enhances life expectancy and helps limit climate change is outlined. Amenity/lifestyle horticulture is also valued, at US$290bn annually.
These are financial evaluations of horticultural services worldwide. We reap sunlight, produce photosynthetic energy and convert it into healthy foods, environments and communities. Information all neatly delivered on an A2 sheet folded to A5.
Financing this initiative is the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) aided by expert professional marketeers. The flier and a more detailed booklet are freely available through www.ishs.org. The ISHS is well respected by the UN and its world agencies and the European Commission. Each of its 30-40 annual symposia is opened by national agricultural ministers. The four-yearly congresses attract more than 3,000 delegates and provide big business for the host nations.
Here is a powerful tool for use in helping redress the knowledge vacuum that exists in Great Britain. We can ill-afford the depth of public and political ignorance that undervalues horticulture’s economic, environmental and social capital.
Curiously, horticulture’s health, welfare and tourist contributions are well understood elsewhere. Here, we have degraded the word, created wholly unnecessary conflicts and tensions with the art of gardening, generally mystifying the tax-paying public. Harvesting the Sun could start redressing this damage — spread the word.
PROFESSOR GEOFFREY DIXON IS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF GREENGENE INTERNATIONAL