Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural and Resource Economics

Major Professor

Kimberly L. Jensen

Committee Members

Christopher D. Clark, Burton C. English


Consumers have expressed preferences for gardening products that have environmental benefits or ecofriendly attributes. These products can utilize fewer resources in production, reduce the need for further inputs as well as return nutrients back to the earth. Utilizing a survey of Tennessee indoor and outdoor gardeners, the following two papers estimate how consumer demographics, behaviors and attitudinal variables influence the propensity of a consumer to prefer environmentally friendly gardening products and their use of a specific ecofriendly gardening product, potting mix with biochar.Some key findings from the first paper include that consumer gardening practices and demographic characteristics influence the overall propensity to prefer gardening products with environmental attributes. The tendency to be involved in environmental or gardening clubs as well as the practice of gardening to grow food were among the largest influences on the propensity to prefer gardening products with environmental benefits. In the second paper, analysis of consumer preferences for a specific product with environmental attributes, potting mix containing 25% biochar, was conducted. A mean willingness to pay of $8.52 was estimated for an 8-quart bag of potting mix with biochar (compared with a base price of $4.99). Results from this study suggest that consumer demographics and attitude variables regarding the environment and biofuel production were influential in the determination of willingness to pay and the probability of purchasing the potting mix with biochar.The results from both studies further understanding about consumer preferences for environmentally conscious gardening product attributes. These studies can inform decisions and product development in the gardening and lawn care industry as well as contribute to the development of valuable coproducts in bioenergy production.

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