Investing in Horticulture's Future
Since 1962, the Horticultural Research Institute has directed more than $7 million of industry funds through its competitive grants program. Research projects have covered the full range of production, environmental and business issues important to the green industry. Funding for the competitive grants program comes from HRI supporters and their charitable donations made to the HRI General Fund or numerous named funds of the HRI endowment. The annual investment returns from the HRI endowment provide research grants each year.
HRI strives to fund research that specifically deals with green industry related issues. HRI-supported projects focus on:
HRI seeks to support research that has definable outcomes and represents a return on investment for the green industry.
The Backbone of Our Mission: Research
HRI funds horticultural research focusing on the propagation, production, distribution, marketing, and sale of horticultural crops. We work to ensure that our funded research meets industry-approved standards for value, impact and accountability. Industry leaders evaluate the significance and economic usefulness of research applications, and HRI's scientific advisory panel assesses each project’s feasibility and methodology.
As the horticultural industry information clearinghouse, we reduce research duplication by encouraging investigators to examine the same problem from different angles. This makes better information and more resources available to the researchers. And it helps our HRI dollars to go twice as far.
Investing in Special Initiatives
In addition to the annually funded research projects, Horticultural Research Institute often engages in special initiatives for the benefit of the horticultural industry. These special initiatives are funded through a number of sources and sometimes exclusively funded by HRI.
The horticultural industry has an important role to play in pollinator stewardship. Horticultural Research Institute launched the Grow Wise, Bee Smart™ initiative to fund research to inform best practices, educate and empower horticultural businesses with stewardship practices, and communicate with the buying public. Our work has expanded to include significant support for the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, including the creation of an industry toolkit.
The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America. MPGC will move millions of individuals, kids and families outdoors and make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food people eat. Horticultural Research Institute is a proud collaborator and has developed retail point-of-purchase materials and a retail communications toolkit to assist the industry promote this initiative.
Seed Your Future is an initiative to promote horticulture awareness across the United States. Supported by more than 150 partner organizations, this initiative strives to grow the horticulture field by advancing educational programs for students in middle school through college. To date, Horticultural Research Institute has provided nearly $50,000 in support for the Seed Your Future initiative.
The Floriculture & Nursery Research Initiative (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service) represents a strong focused collaborative effort between industry, ARS scientists, and existing "university centers of excellence" with experience with the industry's needs. Horticultural Research Institute , along with its association affiliate AmericanHort, and the Society of American Florists work with ARS to ensure FNRI dollars are distributed to support research on urgent emerging pest and disease problems, invasive plant species, labor issues, and improved environmental and resource management. Download the most recent FNRI reports here.
This remarkable research advancement is a perfect example of progress through partnerships. The Horticultural Research Institute believed in the potential of a project aimed to develop technology that automatically adjusts spray output to the structure of the crop. HRI provided some of the initial funding to get the project going. That demonstration of industry commitment opened the door to further funding through our Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative partnership with USDA-ARS. Eventually, additional funding came through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, a program AmericanHort has supported through the Farm Bill. University research and extension involvement in Ohio, Oregon, and Tennessee has helped transform a research theory into an industry reality.
The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) 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.
This movement nurtures a passion and appreciation for plants and increases the demand for gardening, from horticultural grants at universities to attendance at public gardens to foot traffic in garden centers.