About SLU Horticulture
As the name suggests, the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science is responsible for horticulture-related activities and operations at SLU.
The faculty’s strategy for 2017–2020 emphasises that many of the major societal challenges we face must be met with more interdepartmental collaborations, greater systems-thinking and multidisciplinary approaches.
Urban and rural landscapes and production systems for business management and consumption are just two themes with a major bearing on both horticultural science and the horticulture sector.
Strong, growing industry
SLU’s own motivation behind investing in horticulture is supported by strong external factors – horticulture is the strongest growing industry within Swedish agriculture. We have seen a marked increase in people choosing to grow their own produce; fruit and vegetable consumption is increasing steadily, as we are encouraged to eat larger amounts for both health and environmental reasons.
There is no doubt that plants and nature have a significant impact on health and recreation.
Digitalisation, automation and robotisation are changing the value chains and when combined with shifts in consumer behaviour, they power innovation.
We see how there is an increasing interest in the way horticulture can contribute to solutions for major societal challenges.
There is a pressing need for knowledge in production, product development and marketing both within the sector and amongst consumers regarding food, quality of life and health.
SLU Horticulture is a way to position SLU in the developing societal role of horticulture, in industry, public and non-profit sectors, both nationally and internationally. Visibility and collaboration are necessary to be able to attract new staff and students, and obtain external funding.
It is important that as we develop SLU Horticulture, we make the most of the collaboration opportunities available with SLU Landscape.
The importance of horticulture
Horticulture is the foundation of creating societies where quality of life is high. Horticulture supplies society with products rich in aesthetic, physiological, environmental, financial and beneficial value. Now, in this changing world that faces challenges such as an increasing population, climate change and limited resources, the need for horticulture research is greater than ever. We need to increase our production of nutrition-rich food and decrease our exploitation of finite resources as well as the emissions generated by manufacturing methods. As towns and cities expand and urbanisation increases, so does our need for greenery in an urban environment – not just as a way to limit the negative impact of urbanisation, but also to increase wellbeing amongst residents.
Thanks to the interdisciplinary nature of horticulture, it is able to develop scientific knowledge that can address the challenges of the future.
Horticulture research covers everything from single nutrition molecules and genes, to plants and plant care, harvest, storage and management and – last but not least – business models and global trade systems.
State of the horticulture sector
The most recent analysis of the horticulture industry took place in 2017. The analysis provides a comprehensive picture of the horticulture sector and its national and international societal significance. The Swedish horticulture industry is estimated to be worth SEK 32 billion and it employs around 70,000 people.