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FLORAL MARKETING 76 APRIL 4-18, 2016 | THE PRODUCE NEWS The power of flowers and plants in our lives BY LAURA DEPRADO Flowers have a positive impact on our lives. Three behavioral studies conducted at Rutgers University’s Depart- ment of Psychology in New Brunswick, NJ, show that flow- ers are a powerful, positive emotion inducer. In study one, flowers, upon presentation to women, always elicited the Duchenne, or true, smile. Women who received flowers reported more posi- tive moods three days later. In study two, a flower given to men or women in an elevator elicited more positive social behavior than other stimuli. And in study three, flowers presented to older participants (55 or older) elicited positive mood and improved episodic memory. Flowers have immediate and long-term effects on emo- tional reactions, mood, social behaviors and even memory for both men and women. The history, and evi- dence-based studies on the benefits of flowers and plants, continues to gain notoriety. It makes sense, as we would not survive without plants. We wear and grow plants. We use plants to make medicine and many other health sup- plements. We use plants in sickness, sorrow and celebra- tion. The therapeutic practice of gardening has proven to have significant physical, social interview. “If you are involved with plants, you are involved with consumer horticulture.” USDA NIFA, through federal funding and pro- gram leadership, sus- tains cutting-edge hor- ticultural research, edu- cation and extension at its partner colleges and universities, and more. “Abraham Lincoln Laura DePrado had the foresight” to cre- ate the USDA, which the goal of providing people living 16th president liked to with physical, mental or social call the People’s Depart- limitations full and unob- ment, Bewick went on structed access to therapeutic to say. “USDA affects gardening activities. Al Murray, New Jersey’s assistant secretary of agriculture and a volunteer peoples’ lives every day, The American Horticultural firefighter in Audubon, NJ; Anthony Bucco, senator from New Jersey’s District and we make their lives Therapy Association ( 25; Hugh Flood, superintendent of the New Jersey Firemen’s Home in Boonton, better every day. Horti- is the only U.S. organization NJ; Matthew Di Lauri, mayor of Boonton, NJ; and Anthony Bucco, assembly- cultural therapy benefits committed to promoting and man from New Jersey’s District 25. The men helped residents of the firemen’s peoples’ lives every day, developing the practice of hor- home create spring flower arrangements on March 22. ‘Horticultural therapy too. One of our goals ticultural therapy as a unique has provided the men a satisfaction and memories of when they had worked in is to engage the hor- and dynamic human service their own garden,’ said Flood. ‘Horticultural therapy has proven to offer great ticultural therapy com- modality. activities, and the home thanks all who have contributed to the program.’ Photo munity in our effort to Horticultural therapy is rich courtesy of the New Jersey Firemen’s Home benefit human health in history. In the United States, and well-being, and it Benjamin Rush, a University and cognitive benefits, and has landscapes and related horti- is something we want to high- of Pennsylvania professor and been specialized in the field of cultural items to the benefit of light. The National Institute one of the signers of the Dec- horticultural therapy. individuals, communities and of Health spent $30 billion laration of Independence, pub- The percentage of U.S. the environment. These activi- over the years on the curative lished findings in 1812 that households participating in ties rely on the understanding aspects of health. HT can help patients who worked in gar- consumer horticulture will and application of the art and people stay well. Consumer dens had better recovery rates horticulture is a legal mandate from mania than those who increase from 70 percent in science of horticulture. 2014 to 90 percent by 2025, “Horticultural therapy is the by Congress. A strategic plan had not had the same garden- according to the U.S. Depart- new consumer horticulture,” is in forward motion by USDA ing experience. ment of Agriculture’s National Tom Bewick, national program NIFA to address this in the According to Rutgers Fact Initiative for Consumer Hor- leader for horticulture at the form of the National Initiative Sheet “Enabling Gardens: The ticulture. Consumer horticul- USDA’s National Institute for for Consumer Horticulture.” Practical Side of Horticultural Horticultural therapy tech- Therapy,” which I co-wrote, the ture is the cultivation, use and Food & Agriculture, said in a enjoyment of plants, gardens, late November 2015 phone niques are employed to help Friends Hospital in Philadel- participants learn new skills or phia was the first American regain those that are lost. HT hospital (in 1879) to build a helps improve memory, cog- greenhouse used for patient nitive abilities, task initiation, rehabilitation. When injured language skills and socializa- World War II veterans were tion. In physical rehabilita- admitted to hospitals, phy- tion, HT can help strengthen sicians used on-site gardens muscles as well as improve donated by garden clubs and coordination, balance and horticultural businesses for endurance. In vocational HT rehabilitation therapies. settings, people learn to work “The horticulture industry independently, solve problems in New Jersey is the state’s and follow directions. Horti- largest agriculture sector with cultural therapists are profes- 42 percent gross sales,” said Al sionals with specific education, Murray, New Jersey’s assistant training and credentials in the secretary of agriculture. “This use of horticultural for therapy includes nursery, sod, horti- and rehabilitation. culture and floriculture.” New NIFA horticultural program Jersey is ranked in the top 10 areas are comprised of sustain- in the United States in total able production and post-pro- horticulture sales, according to duction handling (post-harvest USDA’s Northeastern Horticul- physiology) of fruits, nuts, veg- tural Crops Report. etables, flowers and landscape crops; environmentally sensi- Laura DePrado is president of tive management of landscape Final Touch Plantscaping LLC in plantings and gardens, includ- Somerville, NJ, a registered horti- ing sports areas and parks; and cultural therapist and a columnist, horticultural impact on human specializing in connecting peo- health and well-being such as ple and plants. She helped write social, mental and physical legislation designating the third horticulture therapy. week in March as Horticultural Horticultural therapy uses Therapy Week in New Jersey. She gardening in hospitals, recov- received the New Jersey Nursery ery and rehabilitation centers, & Landscape Association’s Distin- senior enters, public and pri- guished Service Award in 2015 vate schools, adult day cen- and the American Horticultural ters, rehabilitative programs, Therapy Association’s Alice Burl- mental health and correction- ingame Humanitarian Award for al facilities. It helps veterans, New Jersey efforts in 2013. She at-risk youths and individuals can be reached at laura@final- with dementia, all with the FOR INDUSTRY UPDATES VISIT WWW.PRODUCENEWS.COM