Agriculture Department, Longwood Gardens Connects Students to ‘Green Industry’ In-Demand Horticulture Careers

Farm City DayFarm City Days expand to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities and showcase farms and gardens that are making a difference in ag education and workforce initiatives, in Kennet Square, PA. (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

KENNETT SQUARE, PA — Agriculture Deputy Secretary for Plant Industry and Consumer Protection Fred Strathmeyer, Jr. joined Longwood Gardens leadership, Seed Your Future representatives and local school students yesterday for Farm City Day at Longwood Gardens to highlight agriculture education and recognize the future of agriculture workforce.

“Collaborating with partners on this Earth Day, we are excited to showcase farms and gardens that are making a difference in the communities they serve and inspiring students to pursue agricultural careers at Farm City Day,” said Secretary Redding. “As Pennsylvania agriculture’s workforce ages and technology increases, the job opportunities continue to grow. Introducing students to careers in agriculture with hands-on opportunities is critical to fulfilling these needs and developing educated consumers.”

Friday’s tour included a “Finding Your Path” workshop and panel discussion with students about careers in horticulture. Pennsylvania’s Farm City Day has traditionally been a one-day event held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center. This year, the program is expanding, and events will be held around the state. Secretary Redding will be touring the events and highlighting opportunities for students to experience hands-on learning opportunities and visit farms and gardens that are making a difference in ag education and workforce initiatives.

“It is our mission at Longwood Gardens to share the beauty and the importance of plants in our world,” said Longwood Gardens President and CEO Paul B. Redman. “Our respected education and hands-on training programs, which began more than 60 years ago, are vital to sharing that mission and to ensuring that we have a healthy pipeline of green collar professionals ready to make sure our global garden thrives for generations to come,” Redman said. “We are honored to join with Agriculture Deputy Secretary Strathmeyer, leaders from Seed Your Future, and local high school students and faculty, to celebrate Earth Day and recognize the importance of agriculture and horticulture education programs to the well-being of our community, our state, and our world.”

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To address the workforce needs of Pennsylvania agriculture, the Wolf Administration, in coordination with the General Assembly, created a 15-member Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence. The commission is joint between the departments of Agriculture and Education and is helping to develop a statewide plan for agricultural education, examining ways to get more agriculture education in schools both urban and rural. The commission has been charged with developing a statewide plan for agricultural education and coordinating the implementation of related programming.

“Celebrating Earth Day at Longwood Gardens is the perfect forum to share the important work that Seed Your Future is doing to promote horticulture and inspire people to pursue careers working with plants,” said Seed Your Future Executive Director Jazmin Albarran. “Seeing the students… working directly with plants and learning about the many rewarding careers that await in horticulture and agriculture is what Seed Your Future and our partners strive to do every day for students across the U.S.,” Albarran said. “We invite more companies to join us in our efforts and thank Secretary Redding and Longwood Gardens for the work they do to ensure we all appreciate the vital role of plants in our world.”

Pennsylvania agriculture seeds $132.5 billion into our economy annually and supports more than 593,000 jobs statewide. Since 2019, Pennsylvania has invested more than $50 million to support and sustain the industry’s growth through the PA Farm Bill, the first and only one of its kind in the nation. For more about how Governor Tom Wolf’s historic PA Farm Bill invests in the growing agriculture education opportunities, visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.

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Learn more about initiatives and investments to grow, protect and sustain Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry at agriculture.pa.gov.

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