Going green

Horticulture Hints

Around the country last week, 4-H club members and volunteers celebrated National 4-H Week. Beginning more than 100 years ago, 4-H has become one of the nation’s largest youth development organization. The 4’H idea is simple: help young people and their families gain the skills needed to become leaders in their communities and develop ideas for a more innovative economy.

Perhaps you are a 4-H alum and remember the 4-H pledge: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, My heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, and my health to better living, For my club, my community, my country, And my world.”

As a horticulturist, I like to think of perhaps adding a fifth H, for horticulture. Knowledge gained by knowing where your food comes from (and not just out of a can) is important for people of all ages.

Back in great-grandma’s day, almost every Iowan had a garden, or received food from a relative who gardened. Today, involving youth in horticulture activities is important to help them to rediscover a vanishing art. Tending a garden helps to gain lifelong skills and also leads to a healthier diet and environment by eating locally grown foods.

Horticulture is more than just gardening…it is a science on the cutting edge of biotechnology, business, industry, and therapy for millions of people. Horticulture feeds us, improves our environment, and, through science, explores ways to find answers to tomorrow’s problems.

Did you know? Although 4-H club names such as Fremont Farm Fairies or Williams Hustling Homemakers are no longer in use, 4-H is alive and growing in Iowa. For further information on joining 4-H or becoming a volunteer, contact your local extension office.


Horticulture Questions? Contact McCormick at yvonne@iastate.edu for information or advice.