Pennsylvania celebrated Agriculture and Food Careers Week last week, which made for an appropriate time for the state’s Secretary of Agriculture to encourage more young people to get involved in horticulture.
During the Grow Your Horticulture Program, an event hosted by Longwood Gardens in partnership with Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in Eastern Pennsylvania and Seed Your Future, Secretary Russell Redding emphasized the importance of promoting horticulture as a vibrant, exciting industry for young people. Dr. Scott Sheely, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Special Assistant for Workforce Development was also in attendance.
“Engaging young people with careers involving plants and horticulture is key,” says Sarah Cathcart, Vice President of Education at Longwood Gardens. “We are thrilled that Secretary Redding, Dr. Scott Sheely, and Susan Yoder from Seed Your Future, were able to lend their support to this important initiative.”
The partnering organizations offer great examples for how to encourage an early interest in horticulture. Seed Your Future is an initiative to promote horticulture awareness across the U.S. Supported by more than 150 partner organizations, including lead partners Longwood Gardens and the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), Seed Your Future strives to grow the horticulture field by advancing educational programs for students in middle school through college.
Career and Technical Education programs offer students the opportunity to develop critical skills through a combination of classes and hands-on learning experiences. There are more than 80 career and technical education centers across Pennsylvania that offer Pennsylvania Department of Education approved programs to thousands of students.