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- Author or Editor: Coleman Etheredge x
Retail florists in the United States were surveyed from Oct. to Nov. 2020 to document business practices and innovative approaches to marketing, designing, and delivering flowers during Mar. to Sept. 2020 of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Slightly less than half of the responding florists (45.0%) closed operations for an average of 31 to 60 days (15.6%). City or county COVID-19 restrictions caused 34% to close their storefronts to customers. Nearly all offered no-contact delivery service. Approximately one-third of these florists used social media marketing consisting of still images and video posts, and a similar number offered no-contact shopping options. Two-thirds of the florists made no changes to the way they designed flowers (60.6%). Event-oriented stores reorganized their business models and sought daily work to replace postponed or canceled wedding orders. Three-fourths of the florists who terminated employees because of shutdowns hired or planned to rehire all terminated employees.
In the United States, there is an increasing demand for field- or greenhouse-grown, specialty, locally grown cut flowers. However, certain cultivars of cut flowers are not readily available in the market. The purpose of this research was to produce a crop of novelty sunflowers (Helianthus annuus ‘Firecracker’) and study the marketability of the cut flowers to wholesale and retail florists and consumers. The plants were grown in greenhouses. Stems were harvested and shown to local floral wholesalers/retailers who were individually interviewed on their perceptions of the cut flower as a product. Farmers’ market patrons were administered a quantitative survey to determine their perspectives on locally sourced products and willingness to pay (WTP) for the specialty cut flower (SCF). Results indicated half of the local florists interviewed responded positively to locally grown floral products in general, with all florists willing to pay at the least the same amount for the SCF as they are currently paying for their standard commercially grown, imported cut sunflowers. Farmers’ market customers expressed a WTP of $1.34/stem and/or $10.13/bunch of 10 stems for the SCF with participants who expressed a higher concern for sourcing local products often more willing to pay a higher price for the SCF. Furthermore, among demographic comparisons, there were no differences in WTP based on age, income, and education. However, females were more likely to purchase the SCF when compared with males, and African-Americans were less likely to buy the SCF and willing to pay less for 10-stem bunches when compared with respondents of other ethnic backgrounds. Although many buyers responded positively to the product, results indicate women and those who prefer to buy local would be a good target demographic market for the product.
In the last quarter century, the epidemic of overweight and obese Americans has increased strikingly. This, in turn, has caused a substantial rise in the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cholesterol, hypertension, osteoarthritis, stroke, type II diabetes, specific forms of cancer, and other diseases. The main purpose of this research was to investigate the influence of gardening activities on activity levels, body mass index (BMI), allergies, and reported overall health of gardeners and nongardeners. The sample population was drawn from two sources: an online survey and an identical paper-pencil formatted survey, which was distributed to church, garden, and community service groups within Texas and parts of the mid-western United States. A total of 1015 people participated in the study. Results from this study indicated nongardeners were less physically active when compared with gardeners. However, frequency of gardening did not have a statistically significant impact on gardeners’ BMI. There was also no difference in BMI between gardeners and nongardeners. Gardeners indicated having more frequently reoccurring symptoms for “ear infection/ear ache,” “high cholesterol,” “kidney stone,” “gallstones,” and “arthritis,” indicating gardening may be being used as a distraction therapy, helping gardeners to cope with pain and remain active when other forms of exercise may not be an option. There was no statistically significant difference in incidence of allergies between gardeners and nongardeners.
As Generation Z (born 1995–2012) students replace Millennial (born 1981–94) students on college campuses, instructors may begin to evaluate and structure their courses based on how this new generation best learns. Generation Z students were exposed to such things as the internet, smart phones, personal computers, and laptops since infancy and, hence, are very comfortable with technology and multitasking. The purpose of this study was to compare students’ overall grades and perceptions of the course and instructor in a face-to-face vs. an online/hybrid basic floral design course taken by a majority Generation Z student population. The face-to-face course consisted of live lectures that met twice per week for 50 min at an assigned time; reading materials and standard lecture slides were used. The hybrid course had content placed online within weekly modules and released to students in an asynchronous manner each Monday. Both versions of the course had a face-to-face laboratory that met once per week. Comparisons of grades between the face-to-face and hybrid course formats were made using analysis of variance tests. A Mann-Whitney U test was used to determine if there were statistically significant differences in the way students in each course format answered the end of semester course and instructor evaluation survey. Of those that took the course, a majority [466 (98.3%)] was between the ages 18 and 24 years, within the Generation Z era. When comparing grades within this group, it was found students in the hybrid course received more A and B letter grades overall [223 (91%)] compared with the students of the same age range in the face-to-face course [198 (88.7%)]. Overall, seniors and juniors scored higher grades in both the hybrid and face-to-face course when compared with the sophomore and freshmen within the same class. No significant difference was found between the face-to-face and hybrid students’ responses to any of the 11 questions on the course and instructor evaluation survey. Results showed an overall high level of satisfaction (4.50) for both the face-to-face and hybrid format.
In the United States there has been a push to convert industries to a more environmentally sustainable business attitude in recent years. Environmentally sustainable practices are not only good for the environment, but there is increasing evidence these practices lead to an increase in customer loyalty. The trend of self-regulation, willingly imposing more stringent environmental policies than required by the government, is progressing toward a time where environmentally friendly practices will be a competitive necessity for businesses to survive. The main purpose of this research was to investigate the perceptions of environmental health of retail flower shop owners and their willingness to recycle fresh cut floral waste produced at retail flower shops for use as compost and to determine if there is a statistical correlation between environmental awareness and willingness to compost fresh cut flower waste. A mailing list of retail florists from across the United States was compiled. A total of 1974 florists from all 50 states were sent a standardized e-mail explaining the purpose of the study. Embedded in the e-mail was a hyperlink that redirected willing respondents to the survey. Each person on the mailing list was emailed one time. Of the 300 retail florists who took part in the survey, a majority, 190 (63.33%), were ranked as having “high concern” for environmental health. A majority of florists 247 (82.33%) “agreed” or “strongly agreed” to collaborate with Master Gardener programs and other organizations if it meant they could recycle their floral waste through composting. Through the creation of industry- and state-sponsored certifications, florists could brand and promote their business as more environmentally conscious by composting their floral waste. This could possibly, in turn, stimulate sales and increase profit margins while having the added benefit of reducing the amount of waste entering landfills.
A university faculty-managed and student-run service-learning program provides seasonal plants and floral designs for holidays and special events on campus. Native and well-adapted plants for client personal use are also promoted and sold throughout the semester. Students propagate and grow greenhouse and nursery crops and create floral designs through service-learning applications in classes. Floral designs and greenhouse/nursery products are advertised via e-mail to members of the university's faculty and staff. The purpose of this study was to document program fundraising over time, as well as to measure the experiential value to the students and the quality of life benefits to the campus community. Economic benefits were evaluated by reviewing overall and average costs and earnings from the program over a 13-year period. Results indicated the average profits for the program were $6578 annually, with most sales occurring during the late spring semester. Surveys collected qualitative data from students participating in the program and indicated the experience was a valuable hands-on horticultural teaching tool, but also helped students build confidence, learn business skills in management and networking, and find their passion within the industry. Unsolicited comments from faculty and staff found that the program brought joy, had educational value, and provided a service to departments.
One-third of Americans are reportedly living with extreme stress, with 75% to 90% of visits to primary care physicians being for stress-related problems. Past research found visiting green areas lowers blood pressure, reduces headache and fatigue, improves mood, and hastens recovery from stress. The main objective for this study was to determine if stress-related illness rates in regions of Texas were related to vegetation rates and tree canopy cover. Data on the stress-related illnesses of high blood pressure and heart attacks were collected from the Center for Health Statistics and the Texas Department of State Health Services for all 25 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in Texas. MSAs are counties or group of counties with a central city or urbanized area of at least 50,000 people. Percent canopy cover was calculated for each MSA using the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics National Land Cover Data canopy cover dataset. Vegetation rates for all the MSAs were examined and mapped for illustration using geographical information system (GIS) software. Visual relationships among the data were observed. Quantitative data were also analyzed. When mapping stress-related illness rate into MSA regions of Texas, no clear trend was observed with vegetation rates or percent tree canopy cover when compared with stress-related illness rates. Semipartial correlations were calculated to analyze the relationship between tree canopy cover and vegetation rate and stress-related illness rate variables after controlling the effect of external variables like income levels, age, population, and ethnicity. There was no significant positive or negative relationship found between stress-related illness data when compared with percent canopy and vegetation index for any the 25 MSAs of Texas.
Although some benefits of gardening have been documented, motivations regarding participation in gardening are often considered based on anecdote. The purpose of this study was to use qualitative analysis to explore reasons gardeners from different genders and generations participate in gardening. The questions developed for this study were intentionally exploratory and left open-ended to gather a large variety of responses. Surveys were collected from 177 individuals between the ages of 7 and 94 years old. Responses were categorized into themes identified through the literature review, the pilot study, and through exploration of the data. Responses could fit into as many categories as were mentioned by the respondents and were categorized by three independent coders. Interrater reliability was assessed using a two-way mixed, absolute agreement, average measures intraclass correlation (ICC) and determined the degree to which coders provided consistency in their ratings across participants. Themes developed through this survey included “social interaction,” “aesthetics,” “food availability/health/nutrition,” “economics,” “therapeutic,” “environmental benefits,” “nostalgia,” and “personal productivity.” Themes of personal productivity and nostalgia are those which have not occurred in previous research. Statistically significant differences were found in comparisons among males and females with more males gardening for food/health/nutrition and for reasons regarding nostalgia. More females reported gardening for personal productivity when compared with males. No significant difference was identified in comparisons of gardeners from various age groups indicating that gardeners across generations have similar intentions and receive similar benefits.
During the past few years, Americans have experienced a wide variety of stressors, including political tensions, racial/civil unrest, and the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. All of these have led to uncertainty within society. Chronic feelings of helplessness can lead to depression or feelings of hopelessness in those who perceive their situation as unchanging. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impacts of gardening and outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic on perceptions of hope, hopelessness, and levels of depression, stress, and anxiety. Participants of this study were recruited through online social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram; 458 participants completed the 21-item Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale inventory as well as the Hope Scale. Our data indicated that individuals who self-reported themselves as gardeners had significantly more positive scores related to levels of stress, anxiety, and depression and a sense of hope. Furthermore, gardeners had lower levels of self-reported depression, anxiety, and stress when compared with those who did not identify themselves as gardeners. The gardeners also had a more positive outlook regarding hope for the future. Additionally, a significant positive correlation was found between the number of hours spent participating in gardening and a sense of hope, and a negative correlation was found between the number of hours gardening and stress levels. Similarly, there was a significant negative correlation between the number of hours spent participating in any outdoor activity and self-reported levels of stress, anxiety, or depression; however, there was a positive correlation between the number of hours spent participating in any outdoor activity and a sense of hope. Our data suggested that more hours spent outside gardening or participating in recreational activities led to less perceived stress, anxiety, and depression and greater levels of hope for the future.