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The New Gardeners


Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

10 Reasons We need to rethink Gardening

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a gardener today. Over the years I have observed many changes in the community where I work:

  1. Restrictions on pesticide use in cities.
  2. The increased awareness of the public regarding health.
  3. Fear among the public regarding new crops, pesticides and herbicides.
  4. Loss of trust in government regarding environmental protection.
  5. Increases in organic food availability in grocery stores.
  6. The rising number of small farmers markets.
  7. The popularity and support for local manufacturing, food production and processing.
  8. The increased popularity of urban agriculture both as an academic discipline and as a gardening trend.
  9. The increased emphasis on native plants in urban planting design,
  10. Severe weather events that damage property, displace people and further strain the natural environment and its inhabitants.

What People Want

What are the practical implications for us gardeners?

It appears to me that the common thread is a desire for authenticity and trust. How was it grown? Where was it made? Who made it? Whats in it? The production process has become increasingly important in relation to the finished product. In this context the new gardener will need to take a look at conventional gardening processes and anticipate questions asked.

8 Ways we can be more relevant

Over the next year I will be writing about the following topics:

  1. Explore the concept of stewardship in an urban environment.
  2. Discuss urban ecology.
  3. Use monitoring and observation as a prerequisite for taking action in a garden.
  4. Use monitoring and observations to develop recommendations that could include targeted interventions.
  5. Post pictures and video to help illustrate the unique properties of the urban landscape.
  6. Explore the dynamic between ecological processes and the role of humans in urban plant composition.
  7. Discuss urban plants that thrive in degraded urban landscapes.
  8. Discuss the relationship between common space and private gardens.

In short, an exploration of a knowledge based approach to gardening.

Characteristics of the new gardeners:

  1. values knowledge over routine.
  2. Make observations before action.
  3. Arrive with a lighter footprint
  4. Enable a more meaningful landscape through stewardship.

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