Saturday, August 10, 2013

August 2013 Newsletter for SFGF Instructors

Official Publication of Square Foot Gardening Foundation

 Harvest of  News
In this Issue:
  • Welcome to new Certified Instructors
  • Clear Creek Farm: A model to make money with restaurant sales & tours
  • 2013 SFG Garden Contest Announcement
  • Quote of the Month
  • Buy SFG Branded Coarse Vermiculite at Wholesale Prices!! Available NOW!!
  • Heartwarming Story by CI, Maegan Schaefer
  • Helping People to Help Themselves
  • Farmers Market Database
  • Get Inspired! Kay Walsh shares an innovative garden design: the Pond Bed
  • Announcements & Upcoming Events



                                                    Ray Davis, Milton, Florida

    Sally Fry of Fairmont, West Virginia
                                                Kay Walsh Elizabeth City, NC
                       Maegan Schaefer Great Falls MT (this is her son Nic with her SFG)

    This lovely set-up belongs to Kay Walsh, Elizabeth City, NC
    Brenda Myers, Gulf Port, MS
                                             Shawn Tisdell of Stevensville MD



    Certified SFG Instructor, Ray Davis and his wife, Wanda, of Clear Creek Farm in Milton, Florida, have fine-tuned their self-sustaining, green lifestyle to produce supplemental income, with Square Foot Gardening playing a central role. There is a full story on the couple and their farm in the August general newsletter. They own an organic apple orchard, as well as growing non-GMO, heirloom strawberries, herbs, and an array of vegetables on 1.5 acres with 30 SFGs.

    In addition to growing their own organic food, making vegetable sales to the public, and teaching classes, the couple has expanded into farm tours and specialty restaurant sales. They also have some ingenious ideas to provide water and power for the operation of the farm. A lot can be gained from studying Ray and Wanda's business model.

    Here's what Ray said about the most recent farm tour: 

    "The 47th Annual Santa Rosa County, Florida, farm tour of more than 200 participants took place on July 18th of this year, and our farm was the first stop on the tour. I handed out about 150 flyers outlining the opportunities to come to the farm for hands-on learning demonstrations. The organizers said they received rave reviews of the place and many have contacted us to buy trees and come back for personal tours.  Most of our tours so far have been for school kids we are training in SFG techniques but we want to see whether we can create a revenue stream from eco farm touring on our solar-powered, net-zero electrical cost operation."

    Revenue streams:
    • Organic apples from the orchard
    • Nursery / tree and plant sales
    • Organic strawberries
    • Specialty non-GMO, heirloom vegetables and herbs sold to local restaurants (earns $8 - $10,000 annually)
    • Working on building up the farm tours and eco-tourism
    • Teaching classes / hands-on learning demonstrations for SFG and grafting trees
    • Sales to general public

    To expand on this model, here are some additional revenue streams that could be added:

    • Sales of homemade compost and "Mel's Mix" (email Belinda for more information)
    • Sales of "official" SFG beds and products such as SFG-brand vermiculite
    • Book sales (buy from SFGF in bulk at wholesale, and re-sell for profit)
    • Installation of beds for customers (Belinda has an excellent model for this with her business, Home Gardens to Go)
    • Taking a cue from Amie Guyette Hall, SFGF Certified Instructor and Certified Health Coach (From Your Inside Out), you could:
      • add a revenue stream centered on health, wellness, and nutrition for clients,
      • or open a health food restaurant
    • Homemade preserves, jellies, jams, and canned goods – Develop your own private label

    There are lots of ideas here for certified instructors who aim to make a living with SFG! Special thanks to Ray Davis for sharing his farm and innovative ideas with us.



    (USA ONLY)

    There are now FOUR contests with $1400 Total in Prizes!

    Back by Popular Demand
    Plus a special new category for Certified SFG Instructors ONLY!!

    Build a SFG this summer and be a Winner! Deadline is August 31st – you still have time to enter…


    Quote of the Month

    “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall leave the corners of your field for the poor.”
    (Leviticus 19:9-10)

    Buy SFGF-Brand Coarse Vermiculite Wholesale in Our Online Store

     If you hadn't noticed it for sale in the online store, Square Foot Gardening Foundation has developed its own brand of coarse vermiculite. Mel said that one of the most annoying problems people would tell him as he traveled around was they could not find coarse vermiculite locally at an affordable price. His heart was burdened because of this. He and Victoria Boudman put their heads together and solved this problem. They did some time-consuming research on vermiculite suppliers, and then personally traveled to the chosen plant to inspect their product. After much deliberation and negotiations, they hand-selected the very best that was available.

    As a certified instructor, you can now buy a pallet of coarse vermiculite at wholesale pricing, and then re-sell it to your customers. This is a major breakthrough for all of our CIs who have had trouble sourcing coarse vermiculite locally. 

    Watch your inbox for an announcement containing a wholesale price list and shipping fees, which will be sent out to all CIs.

    Hurray for Mel & Victoria for bringing branded, high-quality SFGF brand coarse vermiculite to the world! Now, there will be no more confusion about the size of vermiculite to use, or where to obtain it. You can tell your clients and customers that this brand is personally approved by Mel Bartholomew himself.

    We are selling 2 cu. ft bags of coarse grade vermiculite and shipping directly to you. Perhaps you don't want to order a whole pallet at wholesale pricing. If you want to purchase just one or a few bags, we are matching the current Home Depot™ price of $20.97 for their medium-grade vermiculite, but also upgrading the quality to the coarse grade!  Purchase your vermiculite with us today and we'll also give your a $5 credit to be used towards shipping. Just enter the code vermiculite.This is still a great deal!

    Click here to order SFG Brand Coarse Vermiculite from our online store. This is a limited time trial offer – order yours today and thank you for your patronage! Remember that all proceeds from our online store go to fund SFGF educational and humanitarian projects.

    CI's – remember to watch your email for a special wholesale price list, or email for more information on large orders for CIs only.

    Heart warming Story Shared by New CI, Maegan  Schaefer

    Maegan Schaefer is involved with the first trial of a Community Garden in the Minuteman neighborhood on the Malmstrom Air Force base in Great Falls, MT. It is one of the smaller bases. The base does not allow boxes but she uses grids. She plants a SFG whenever she can amid the constant moves common in the military life. Her husband has served nine years in military, and both of their  fathers served 20+ years each.  He works in security forces and has deployed twice: one-year Afghanistan duty and six-months duty in Iraq.  They have two boys. The 6-yr-old  says he wants to be a gardener not a farmer!

    Their 2 1/2 yr old boy ate almost all the peas in Maegan's garden, and found the first green bean! He also loves parsley.  Little produce makes it from the garden to the house, and the boys always ask, "Mom did you bring the scissors to the garden?"


    We've written many times about SFGF working with Harvest Hope Food Bank in Columbia, South Carolina. There, Victoria and staff have installed SFGs. The idea behind this is to teach food bank patrons how to grow food easily at home to sustain their families, and to provide "fresh, organic, and wholesome" vegetables for patrons as well. This is not a "paying" venture – it is a labor of love and charitable giving.

    NPR recently ran a story on Tucson Food Bank, which is doing a very similar type of operation, but on a larger scale. Read more about it here:


    On August 3, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the number of markets registered in the 2013 National Farmers Market Directory.  This was the kick-off event for National Farmer’s Market Week (August 4-10, 2013). The first week of August, Columbia Heights Community Marketplace in Washington, DC, was the setting for a special celebration of farmers markets. According to USDA's press release, 

    "The Farmers Market Directory at identifies new farmers markets, the states with the highest number of markets in operation, and the total number of farmers markets that have registered throughout the United States." USDA officials say that "USDA is focusing its support on sustainability and encouraging market development in underserved areas."  Read more at or check for markets near you at the links above.

    Selling Your Produce at Farmer's Markets

    As an organic grower, your produce grown in SFGs is in high demand right now. Farmer's Markets are a good outlet to:

    • Sell SFG produce and products 
    •  Network with other SFGers and the community
    • Give hands-on demonstrations of SFG
    • Make valuable contacts for CSA sales, customers/clients
    • Get publicity by handing out flyers or business cards


    This innovation was developed by SFG forum moderator and new CI Kay Walsh.
    She calls it the Pond bed, and it's useful in very sandy soils.


    Norma Burnson's book, Sustainable Food For the Globe: One Square Foot at a Time, is now available on

    Every Monday, 10:20am PST, FTNS online radio, Get Fit with SFG, by Amie Guyette Hall

    August 24, 2013, 9am – 2pm, Cole County Extension Center, Missouri, Square Foot Gardening class, presented by University of Missouri Extension. Learn more

    August 24, 2013, 10am – 11am, The Plant Stand, Baker Street, Costa Mesa, California, SFG Workshop, Contact Mark Fierle at for more information (map)

    September 10, 11, 12, 2013, Heirloom Seed Festival, Santa Rosa, California. Learn more

    September 14, 2013, 1106 Almond Drive, Mansfield, Texas, "Fall 2013, Grow Your Own," by Julie Whitis and Karen McFarland, certified SFG instructors. Learn more

    October 26, 2013, 10am-1pm, Bamboo Room, Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, SFG Class, Jo Ann Carey, instructor, $25 Arboretum members/$30 non-members. Learn more

    October 27, 2013, 9:30am – 11:00am, Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand, "Square Foot Gardening with Ken Clark" workshop. Learn more

    November 9, 14, 20, 2013, University of Florida, Orange County Extension, Square Foot Gardening Basics, a 1 ½ hour class. Learn more



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