SEED TO SALE: An Interdisciplinary Approach To Horticulture And Marketing
Final Report, June 1, 2004
Kate Ternus, Marketing, and Ginny Coyle, Horticulture
Project Summary: This semester, the Hort Herbaceous Plants class included a section on marketing for the horticulture industry. The Horticulture program at Century College is very product-driven, with classes in Plant Propagation, Nursery Operations, Greenhouse Crops and Greenhouse Operations. Although there is a strong connection between producing plants and selling them, at present, we do not require any business classes for an AA or AAS degree. This project, integrating plant production with the marketing and sale of the finished product, was designed to give students an introduction to horticultural business practices.
Last fall, the Biology of Horticulture Plants class helped Ginny Gaynor, Open Spaces Coordinator for Maplewood, collect seed from “Jim’s Prairie”, a cherished remnant of native prairie. The spring Herbaceous Plants class grew the plants, which were to be divided between the nature center, a campus garden and the Hort program’s spring plant sale. The class developed marketing materials to promote the sale of local ecotypes of Minnesota native plants as well as other sale items produced by Mel’s Greenhouse Crops class. Marketing techniques included research and design of fact sheets and informational signage, which reinforced course goals—that students learn how plants
are used in the landscape and become acquainted with light, soil and water requirements as well as bloom time and potential pest problems.
The goals of the project were:
; For students to develop a marketing plan for spring plant sale
; Kate Ternus gave two guest lectures and designed a set of activities to reinforce those concepts.
The first session introduced marketing principles; the second lecture focused on horticulture-
specific marketing practices. Students developed marketing materials including a press release;
a flyer and informational signage.
; To grow plants to help students learn plant characteristics and cultural requirements without
relying on dried plant samples and photos.
; As a result of our drought conditions last summer, we had poor seed germination in several
species. Also due to time needed for plants to grow, they did not serve as a resource for plant
identification as intended. Students did appreciate the opportunity to plant seeds and monitor
their growth. Several students commented on how good it was to have a “hands on” activity in
a mostly plant identification class. We will plant an area with native plants so future classes
with have actual plants to learn.
; To give students practical experience in problem-solving, teamwork and creative as well as critical
; Students worked together to produce a press release and other marketing materials. They
planted seeds and transplanted when needed. This was truly a team project.
; To build partnerships both within the College and in the community
; Ginny Gaynor, from Maplewood Nature Center was a guest speaker, covering seed propagation
prairie restoration, local ecotypes, and seed propagation techniques. We have had the help of
IT and the webteam, as well as Kate Ternus’ expertise.
; To promote Century College and introduce the Horticulture program to gardening enthusiasts in
our area through plant sale advertising.
; I don’t have the number of customer’s for the plant sale, but we did raise about $6,500 on the
first day alone.
; To assess student learning and project effectiveness.
; We had a very small class this semester for Herbaceous Plants, so students worked together on
assignments and class activities. To determine project effectiveness, I designed a survey
adapted from marketing ideas at http://www.swlearning.com/marketing/gitm/gitm.html.
Results are given below. Students were very enthusiastic about learning more about marketing
for horticulture businesses, there are many opinions on what topics should be covered. (Keeps
; To share findings.
; Jason Huisheere from IT posted a student-designed flyer on the plant sale on the Century
College homepage in early May. I will also work with the webteam to develop a “What’s
New” feature on the Hort program website to highlight the “Seed to Sale” project (this was
Conclusion: I appreciate being given this chance to incorporate more active learning situations in the Hort program and broaden the scope of this class. Kate and I would like to offer a marketing unit again in the future, probably in the Introduction to Horticulture fall class. Horticulture has both product and service related businesses, so a wide variety of marketing topics are suitable. I designed the partnership with Kate and this project around the native plants because it gave “closure” to the seed
collecting activity Hort students started in the fall and because a marketing plan and implementation were important to promote the spring plant sale. With students indicating an interest in many areas of marketing, Kate and I will work together on a unit that can stand independent of the spring plant sale, one that can be used at any time of the year and is appropriate for many hort-related businesses.
Thank you for your support of this project.
I would appreciate your feedback on this semester’s project, which included guest lectures and assignments, writing a press release, developing a promotional flyer and producing product information for specific plants.
I think the idea behind the project was great. Things came up that made the project not
go as well as it should (Explanation: due to poor seed germination, we didn’t end up
with many plants to sell; most will be used in prairie restoration in Maplewood). I
think you should keep the marketing aspect in the class, but use other methods to teach
I think Kate Ternus did a great job compacting the wide branch of marketing into two
presentations. I think the second presentation related more to our class.
I thought te marketing project was interesting. It was fun to tie horticulture to
marketing and experience some $ world aspects attached with plants.
Student Survey Results
For future classes, would you please circle the topics you would have enjoyed covering this semester
from the list below, and crossing out topics which would not have been of interest.
TOPIC Yes No
Developing a New Product or Service 3 First Impression Product Survey 1 1 Product Packaging 5 1 Product Comparison Tests 2 2 Consumer Product Testing "The Taste Test" 2 Retail Price Patrols 2
Retailing & Channels
Location Analysis & Site Selection for a Retail Store 2 Retail Interior/Exterior Design Layout Project 2 Store Signage 1
Promotion & Communications
Relating Advertising Copy to Personality Type 2 Advertising Placemats 1 1 Developing an Advertising/Promotional Campaign for a Retail Business 2 1 Periodical Review (popular gardening magazines) 2
Sales Presentation 1 The Telephone As A Sales Tool 2
Marketing Planning & Segmentation
The Failed Product Audit 2 1 How To Compete Against Wal-Mart 2 1 Customer Demographics 2
Observation of Buying Behavior 4
Understanding the Consumer: More Difficult Than You Think 2 1 Researching A Corporation 1 2 International: International Marketing 1 1
Current Topics in Marketing (on-line industry newsletters) 1 1 Internet Marketing 3 Great Marketing Ideas Sell Yourself In A Job Interview 2 1
Marketing Ethics 1 Selling to a Married Couple 1 A Sales Presentation 1 1
Retailing: Major Types Of Retail Stores 1 Analyzing Retailing On The World Wide Web (WWW) 2 1
Marketing ideas adapted from http://www.swlearning.com/marketing/gitm/gitm.html Copyright ? 2003 South-
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