Increasing demand for agricultural water resources has caused a greater need for the use of municipal recycled wastewater (MRW) globally. However, in the United States, greenhouse growers have been slow to use it in their greenhouse operations. In this study, we seek to understand the factors that motivate and limit the use of MRW among US growers.

Using national survey data from 2019 through 2020, we developed a logistic regression model to understand the many factors influencing growers’ willingness to use MRW on food crops. We find that MRW quality is a primary concern and that growers’ willingness to use MRW is shaped by their direct and indirect knowledge of MRW, garnered from their own and others’ experiences using it.

Given these findings, improving the adoption of MRW requires collective experiential learning opportunities that gather target audiences with educators, policymakers, end users, and local authorities to simultaneously provide hands-on experience tailored to growers’ particular knowledge and concerns with feedback from peers.

McOmber, C., Kirchhoff, C. J., Zhuang, Y., & Raudales, R. E. (2023). Understanding Greenhouse Growers’ Willingness to Use Municipal Recycled Water on Food Crops: The Need for Tailored Outreach Coupled with Deep Engagement to Increase Adoption. HortTechnology, 33(2), 161-167. Retrieved Jan 26, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTTECH05132-22

Read the full research paper at journals.ashs.org