Written by Laura Bartholomew
Director – Square Foot Gardening Foundation
Is it time to think beyond your own backyard? This past year has had many of us thinking differently about so many things, for instance; where our food comes from, and how our children are being educated, balancing work and family time, how essential workers go beyond themselves to give selflessly to the communities they serve and how we can help. People are in need more than ever and there are a whole host of things that we took for granted before this pandemic, and there is something you can do about it.
Here at the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, we have been so busy with new gardeners who want to learn how to grow their own food. The new Square Foot Gardening Level One online course has been such an important step to learning our method. Our wonderful staff has been tirelessly helping the public by answering questions and giving tips through our email, social media and of course our quarterly newsletter.
Those who have delved into the SFG method know the ease of its success and are inspired to share their knowledge to help others learn about growing their own food and the many benefits it provides. The best way to do that is to become a Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor (CI). By completing Level One and Level Two of our online course, you can begin your journey. Becoming a CI is an important step in helping to promote a greener, healthier and more sustainable lifestyle and to teach others to do the same. It can unite people of all ages, races, and religions. Gardening like music or a smile, is universal and positive. It can help lift people up, bridge age gaps, feed and nourish bodies and spirits. By becoming an official SFG CI, we provide the knowledge, credentials and support you need to teach folks that gardening shouldn’t be complicated, confusing or require any prior experience, and should be fun too!
SFG is a common-sense way to simplify growing your own vegetables. It’s easy for educators, the elderly, children, those with small spaces and those with mobility issues. Square Foot Gardening can ignite people to start thinking about global topics too. It’s especially perfect for use in educational curriculums by teaching children STEAM concepts (science, technology, environment, art, and math). Great for homeschoolers of all ages too! Elementary age – Paint your box, count your seeds (and watch ‘em sprout) and learn math as you go;) host a growing contest and watch how kids suddenly love to eat their veggies. High Schoolers? Make your own SFG beds (remember shop class?), learn about the environment, participate in a community service project by building SFGs in underserved neighborhoods, or clean up an unsightly area in your town. Or maybe sell your produce at a farmers’ market or give it to a local food pantry.
There are endless possibilities to motivate and encourage your audience. As a trained CI, you just never know how your SFG events will influence a potential future leader, or how you, as a CI, can change someone’s life. Here’s what some of our wonderful Cis have to say:
Wayne B.– “Here’s what we’re looking for to help people in need!”
Althea L. – “Square Foot Gardening has opened up a community for me.”
Kim R. – “Mission trips to spread the word about SFG are important and I will always be thankful to Mel Bartholomew.”
Sheryl B.– “Square Foot Gardening has a way of connecting the generations.“
Huges R. – “Once I was certified, I started talking to the local library.”
Emilio P. – “To become a CI, you don’t need a lot of time or a lot of money.”
So why not start small, build your own SFG, and think about how you can spark change. Consider joining our community of selfless SFG Certified Instructors who will surely inspire you to take the next step in becoming part of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation’s team. Our hope is to inspire people to learn to grow some of their own food, no matter what their circumstances or where they live. Won’t you step outside the box and become a Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor? The time is now.
Interested? Find out more here: www.squarefootgardening.com
During the course of Laura’s long career in advertising and marketing, she always found that being outdoors was a great equalizer in a busy life which included running a business and raising a family. One of her passions was (and still is) flower gardening. Always planting, digging and transplanting in her yard, her neighbors referred to her as a “farmer”. In the years that followed, and with her close relationship with her Father-in-law, Mel Bartholomew, Laura gained an incredible amount of Square Foot Gardening knowledge by Mel himself. Laura has become a Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor, and is the co-director of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation since Mel’s passing in 2016. She continues to champion Mel’s method and mission whole-heartedly. In her words: “ Our Certified Instructors continue to be our greatest mentors and have been the backbone of the success of the Foundation’s work.”11