Case for Support



The mission of Seed Your Future is to promote horticulture and inspire people to pursue careers working with plants.

We envision a US where: Everyone understands the power of plants and is aware of the promising careers in the arts, science, technology, and business of horticulture.


Growing Together: Cultivating Business
   Leaders and Educators to Nurture Green Futures

Seed Your Future (SYF) began as an idea among industry professionals at the 2013 American Society for Horticultural Science. These professionals knew something had to be done to address the unprecedented labor shortage in the horticulture industry. In 2014 Seed Your Future was created with financial support from Longwood Gardens and Ball Horticultural Company.

In the past nine years, SYF has performed research with colleges, universities, and industry to understand the perception of green jobs, published industry salary studies to negate the myth that horticulture jobs have low wages, and partnered with Scholastic to develop a curriculum for middle school students that engages them in the art and science of plants. Despite this success, there is more work that needs to be done to strengthen the horticulture industry.

Growing Together Students with plants

"The average citizen can recognize 1,000 brand names and logos but fewer than 10 local plants" —Paul Hawken, Environmentalist



Industries need more qualified applicants to fill the wealth of career opportunities in horticulture, floriculture, agriculture, and other plant professions. Original research performed by SYF and our partners found that: 

  • The workforce is aging; 25% are over the age of 40
  • The industry’s needs are expanding; 48% of employers are planning to increase hiring over the next two years
  • The labor pool is not growing; of the 59,400 annual job openings in food, agriculture, and natural resources, universities supply only 61% of the required students, leaving a 31% gap in qualified horticulture industry applicants. 


  • Most Americans don’t understand or appreciate the industry, the diversity of careers available, and even the term “horticulture.”
  • Parents often discourage their children from pursuing careers in horticulture because they have a stereotype of available jobs and doubt their child’s future ability to earn a living in the field. 
  • Third grade is the average age that schools stop teaching about plants. Yet data shows students make career decisions in middle school. 

The good news is that once adults learn about the industry and the diversity of careers, their views become highly positive. From there, they can share the breadth of opportunities available in the horticulture industry with students and seed the next generation of horticulturists.

Seed Your Future's Unique Approach

Theory of Change: We are cultivating relationships with educators and with horticulture, floriculture, agriculture, and other plant industry professionals to build a green-collar workforce. We engage youth and people at all stages of life to create a positive perception of these industries and develop a strong pipeline of future talent. 

We focus our work on four areas; awareness, education, workforce development, and strong partnerships, all aimed at securing a thriving green industry future.


Awareness: Creating a positive perception of horticulture and increasing awareness of careers working with plants. 

  • Our Parent and Educator Resources like DIY Plant Videos provide hands-on activities that are fun and exciting.  
  • BLOOM! is an interactive website and one-stop shop where students can “find their plant power”, teachers can find lesson plans and resources and anyone can learn about plant careers.
  • Our Career Exploration Tool allows students and their families to explore hundreds of horticulture career pathways. Then students can use our Where to Study and Scholarship Locator tools to make their dreams a reality.

Engaging and exciting youth about horticulture and careers working with plants

  • SYF’s Immersive Professional Development for Educators Seed to STEM empowers high school science teachers nationwide to ignite students’ interest in horticultural careers. Over one week, educators participate in hands-on experiences in ornamental horticulture, floral, food, fiber, and natural resource production industries to showcase the breadth of career opportunities available for their students. From there, they can translate their knowledge into the classroom.
  • Our Plant Mash-Up Contest engages students from middle school to higher education to envision, draw, and describe their own hybrid plant to solve a challenge in their community. Teachers pick a winner based on our rubric and we celebrate and uplift those students on our social media. 

Workforce Development:
Increasing the size of the plant-focused workforce and developing a strong pipeline of future talent

  • Green Career Week is a national movement where industry professionals connect with  local schools in their backyard to showcase the various career paths available at their businesses.
  • Plant Power Quiz helps people learn what career best fits their interests and personality.  
  • Our myth-busting Horticultural Salary Survey shows the breadth of salaries and career opportunities across several sectors ranging from floriculture, public gardens, garden centers, and landscapes to fruits and vegetables.
  • On SYF’s website, students can locate internships to study horticulture, gardening, floriculture, landscape design, urban gardening, and many more options in the world of plants. 
  • Our Job Board features a wealth of career opportunities and job openings in horticulture, floriculture, agriculture, and other plant professions. 

Cultivating and strengthening partnerships to drive the mission 

From FFA to STEM Teacher conferences, SYF engages future green industry employees at key career events. 

  • SYF boasts 15 board members and 25 advisory members representing education, industry, and workforce development including: 
  • Horticultural businesses (such as Ball Horticultural Company, Syngenta Flowers, Proven Winners, Bailey Nurseries, and American Plant Products and Services), 
  • Public gardens (including Longwood Gardens, The Morton Arboretum and The Chicago Botanic Garden), 
  • Colleges and universities (including 2- and 4 –year institutions), and 
  • Other horticulture organizations (such as the Garden Clubs of America, The American Floral Endowment, and the American for Zoological Horticulture).

Investing in Seed Your Future is Effective

  • Boy Flowers LearningMore than 18,000 middle school students have created a fictional hybrid plant that solves a problem in their community through our Plant Mash-Up Contest. 
  • Green Career Week engaged 1 million people through social media, and with over 200 businesses. 
  • Engaged with more than 11,000 students since our inaugural 2022 Green Career Week
  • Reached 700,000 middle-school teachers with BLOOM! lesson plans and activities
  • Created an interactive “Where to Study” map for students 
  • 70,000+ subscribers receive emails and content from SYF
  • Over 400,000 website page views annually 
  • The Seed to STEM educator professional development has the potential of reaching 90,000 students through the 30 high school science teacher participants.  


"Horticulture is no longer something that students are normally exposed to in their early years.  However, jobs working with plants are only becoming increasingly important to our world – and we know how excited and passionate students become when they are given the chance to learn about it.  This is why we believe in the Seed Your Future mission about connecting students with the love of horticulture and plants." - Mark Broxon, CEO, Proven Winners 

Fostering a Green Tomorrow: Our Vision for Cultivating Educators, Advancing Research, and Nurturing Green Futures

Seed Your Future is committed to tackling the labor shortage of the horticulture industry head-on. By 2030, Seed Your Future and our partners will close the workforce gap by 50%. To do this we need to raise $7.5 million over the next five years. 


Awareness- $1,500,000 

Almost 10 years ago SYF embarked on a journey to understand WHY the horticulture industry was faced with an unprecedented labor shortage. Our initial research uncovered a substantial knowledge gap within the industry, ranging from the diversity of available jobs, salary ranges, educational requirements, to the very understanding of the term 'horticulture' itself. In recent years, we've diligently strived to reshape the perception of horticulture and elevate awareness of plant-related careers. As we approach our ten-year anniversary, we are preparing to revisit the original survey to gauge the impact of our efforts and chart the course for our next decade of endeavors.


Education- $2,500,000

Seed Your Future envisions expanding its Immersive Professional Development program to reach 30 high school educators in year one and approximately 5,000 over the next decade. During the program, educators will build connections with additional industry partners grow their network of professional support, and create a curriculum that is aligned with national science standards and ties together plant science and horticulture career pathways. These curricula will be aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards - the top science standard in the country- and be published on our website for educators all over the US to access.


Workforce Development- $3,000,000

Over the next five years, Seed Your Future aims to amplify Green Career Week, engaging a larger number of students and businesses, while also developing robust metrics to measure the program's impact and success, ensuring a sustainable and thriving future for the green industry.

Seed Your Future is committed to delivering timely and accurate research the industry can use. Performing the Horticultural Salaries Project bi-annually allows us to continually provide updated, accurate, and insightful data that dispels myths about horticultural careers. This ongoing effort empowers individuals to recognize the abundant job opportunities within horticulture, thereby inspiring more individuals to explore and pursue this rewarding field as a viable career choice.


Partnerships- $500,000

Seed Your Future is committed to intensifying its collaborative efforts by forging strategic alliances with key stakeholders in the green industry- from educational institutions to industry leaders- while actively engaging and empowering a growing community of volunteers, advocates, and supporters. Expanding our network of partners and bolstering financial support, will allow us to foster a vibrant ecosystem that champions our mission, amplifies our reach, and solidifies our position as a catalyst for transforming perceptions and driving the future of careers in horticulture and related fields. 

Girl potting plants

"I see so often that when a young person discovers the huge possibilities and potential for growth in our industry, they join us.
We just need to find the right ways to get the word out! 
And Seed Your Future is doing just that." - SYF Supporter 

Why is Seed Your Future the right organization to do this?

Seed Your Future is exceptionally well-suited to address the workforce gap in horticulture. Our unique specialization in the horticultural industry provides us with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities within horticulture, enabling us to focus our efforts with precision on bridging the workforce gap. We take a comprehensive approach, leveraging awareness campaigns, educational initiatives, research projects, and strategic partnerships to holistically address the issue. Working closely with educational institutions, industry leaders, and professionals allows us to build a network that actively contributes to workforce development, sharing knowledge, and enhancing opportunities.

Seed Your Future's data-driven approach, through vital research and measurements, ensures that our strategies remain adaptable and closely aligned with the evolving needs of the horticulture industry. Education and awareness are at the core of our mission, not only to inspire the next generation but also to dispel misconceptions and promote awareness among individuals of all ages. By nurturing a positive perception of horticulture, we play a crucial role in closing the workforce gap.

Our dedication extends over a decade, showcasing a long-term commitment that is essential for ensuring lasting change. We engage a diverse network of supporters, that include corporations, individuals, foundations, and industry professionals, creating a robust and sustainable framework for our initiatives. At the heart of our mission lies a belief that careers in horticulture and related fields are vital for a sustainable and vibrant future. 


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