Friday, January 10, 2014

January 2014 Square Foot Gardening Newsletter for Instructors

Official Publication of Square Foot Gardening Foundation

 Harvest of  News
In this Issue:
  • Square Foot Gardening with Kids now available on Amazon
  • How to Become a USDA Certified Organic Grower
  • 15 Ways to Attract Clients to a SFG Business
  • 7th Bi-Annual National Farm-to-Cafeteria Conference
  • Quote of the Month: Oscar de La Renta
  • Elizabeth Hicks, CI, Class Photo 
  • Sow it Forward Garden Grant Application Deadline Extended
  • Upcoming Events

A Square Foot Garden is more than just a perfect place to grow vegetables—it is an ideal environment for sharing and learning with kids of all ages. This book teaches you how.

For two generations, Mel Bartholomew’s top-selling Square Foot Gardening books have made his revolutionary system for growing vegetables available to millions of people. In Square Foot Gardening with Kids, Mel reveals all of the tips, tricks, and fun projects he has used over the decades in one of his most cherished pursuits: teaching youngsters to build and grow their own kid-sized SFGs. Because of its simple principles and fast payoff, Square Foot Gardening is perfect for children.

How to Become a USDA Certified Organic Grower

Square Foot Gardens are a natural way to grow healthy food. Most people know that food grown in a Square Foot Garden is supposed to be free of pesticides and fertilizers. And most people use their Square Foot Gardens just to feed their own families; they’re not interested in selling for profit. However, there are other Square Foot Gardeners who have developed thriving businesses selling their products at farmer’s markets, roadside stands, health food stores, specialty grocers and restaurants.
In most cases, becoming “certified organic” is not really necessary. There are a lot of steps involved to becoming certified by the USDA as an organic grower. This includes completing an application, submitting fees, and submitting to inspections. It is not for everybody, and it is not required in order to sell your produce. However, you may feel that it would benefit you if you have a large SFG operation and you plan to do high-production growing for profit over the long-term.
Are you interested in becoming a large-scale production, certified organic famer? There are certain advantages to having the “certified organic” label on your produce. Chiefly, produce with the certified organic label will bring a higher price at market. According to USDA statistics, organic sales reached $35 billion in the US in 2012.
Also this label lets people know that they food they are purchasing from you:

  •         Has been grown without pesticides
  •           Has been grown without chemical, manmade fertilizers
  •           Does not contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms)
  •          Is natural, wholesome, and healthier
  •           Is free of contaminants

This website of the United States Department of Agriculture lists the steps to become “certified organic.”

Here are the benefits, according to USDA:

“Becoming certified organic helps farmers:
  • Receive premium prices for their products
  • Access local, regional, and international markets
  • Protect natural resources
  • Support local economies
  • Access additional funding and technical assistance programs”
Financial assistance to offset the cost of certification is available too:
“Once you are certified, the USDA Organic Certification Cost-Share Programs can reimburse you up to 75 percent of your certification costs.” (

The content of this newsletter is Copyright January 2014 by Square Foot Gardening Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

15 Ways to Attract Clients to a Square Foot Gardening Business

  1.          Word of mouth – ask happy clients to refer others
  2.          Home parties
  3.         Gardening classes – advertise in local papers, on the Internet, in garden clubs, on library bulletin boards and at local nurseries and garden centers
  4.          Display gardens
  5.          Farm / garden tours
  6.          Give out business cards
  7.          Give speeches at various events
  8.          Farmer’s Markets
  9.         Business cards
  10.          Website
  11.         Get involved in local community events, community gardens, groups 
  12.          Let all your friends and family know what you do
  13.          Street / yard sign
  14.         Community bulletins / town newsletters
  15.      Local radio interviews

Do you have other ideas? Please send them in to share with others!

7th Bi-Annual National Farm-to-Cafeteria Conference
Austin, Texas, April 15-18th, 2014
People engaged in the “farm to cafeteria” movement will converge on Austin, Texas April 15-18, 2014 at the Austin Hilton for the 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference.
This conference offers over 40 workshops showcasing networking opportunities, entertainment options, Austin’s local food culture, and general information on the state of the movement.

If you’d like to attend but are short on funds, they are offering a limited number of scholarships for the price of the conference fees. You have to apply for scholarships before January 31, 2014 and the sooner you apply, the better your chances.
More than 1,000 attendees from all 50 states of the USA are expected to attend.

Pre-conference events begin April 15th, and include field trips, half- and full-day courses and a reception.

Held biannually, the next conference will not take place until 2016.

The Farm-to-Cafeteria movement looks to end childhood obesity and strengthen local food systems.

Conference rates (excluding special events and pre-conference events) are:
  • Early bird rate (deadline March 4): $350
  • Regular rate: $400
  • One day rate: $170
  • Half-day rate (Friday only): $80
Discounted hotel rates are $159/single and $179/double.
Click here to access the online scholarship application
Note: If you choose to apply for a scholarship, DO NOT REGISTER for the conference until you are notified if you are approved. Notification of scholarships will take place before 2/28/2014.

Contact Conference Planner:
Elizabeth Winslow
Phone: 512-568-1815

Media Contact:
Chelsey Simpson
Phone: 405-684-7608

Jaime Lockwood
Phone: 267-324-8583 

Quote of the Month
“Gardening is how I relax. It’s another form of creating and playing with colors.” ~Oscar de la Renta

Photo: Elizabeth Hicks getting ready to instruct class

Elizabeth Hicks, CI, Held Extension & Community College SFG Classes

From Elizabeth, "Just thought I would let you know I taught my first class at the County Extension Office for Masters Gardeners and had about 40 people there.  I have 2 other classes set for the community college. I have enclosed a pic getting ready for the class.

Thank you
Elizabeth Hicks, Certified Instructor, SFGF"

 Sow it Forward Garden Grant Extended Deadline

"This is to let you know that we're extending our Sow It Forward garden grant application by one week to midnight, January 12th. Although many have managed to submit their applications, we know that several haven't either for technical reasons or because of inclement weather (many schools in the Northeast were closed Thursday and Friday because of snow and teachers haven't been able to access files).

The new deadline is now reflected on our website, but the automated messages applicants receive when they save a draft of their application or submit is still showing the old deadline of January 5th. We'll correct those as soon as we can.

While I have your attention, I'd like to suggest a few tips for those of you still having trouble:
  • If you're having logging in it could be that a message from us with your log in link got caught in your email spam folder.
  • If you're getting an "invalid URL" message from our system when you try to save a draft of your application or submit it, it's because you've entered something in a URL field that our system doesn't recognize as a URL.  For example, "myfacebookpagename" will not work in the facebook field, you need to type in the whole URL, i.e.  If you want, you can also just leave those fields blank as they're optional and don't play any role in how we score our applications. 
  • If you think you saved a draft but can't locate it, it most likely means that you didn't manage to save one. When you save a draft, you receive two confirmations, one that pops up on your screen and the other sent by email instantaneously.  
  • If you are starting an application from scratch, we recommend saving an empty draft before entering all your information into the online form. The only things our system requires for saving a draft is that you check all five of the boxes at the top of the application and that you fill out the "name of your project" field. Once you've done that, you can click "save a draft" and your application will be in our system and easy for you to find again for completing later.
I'll do my best to offer tech support to any of you requiring it this week, but I recommend that you not leave your questions to the last minute as I will have limited availability next weekend.  The best way to reach me is by email ("

Thanks for your interest in our grants program,

Roger Doiron

Announcements and Upcoming Events
Mel’s book, Square Foot Gardening with Kids, is now available. Don’t forget your copy – get several for family and friends! Click here to learn more or pre-order

Our OFFICIAL ONLINE CERTIFICATION CLASSES to become a certified SFG Instructor Upcoming Dates are: January 7, 14 & 21 (3pm EST); Feb 5, 12 & 19 (7pm EST); March 6, 13 & 20 (12pm EST) Click here to register or learn more; Click here to sign up for a FREE trial

Live Radio show “Get fit with SFG” on
Learn about how to get fit with Amie Guyette Hall on her web show, Fitness Radio!  Amie features SFG every Monday at 10:20am PST

The Lyceum of Monterey County, 1073 Sixth Street, Monterey, CA – December 5th through January 30th
Ages: Family / All Ages
Dates: 6 Thursdays - Dec 5, 12 & Jan 9, 16, 23, 30
Hours: 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Instructor: Lynn Hamilton
Fee: $60 (half off additional family members)

Learn more

FREE Square Foot Gardening Classes, Georgetown, Texas. An ongoing class held throughout the year, taught by certified instructors. Learn more

Orlando, Florida, Harry P. Leu Gardens, “Basics of Square Foot Gardening,” January 14, 2014, taught by Ed Thralls; Learn more

Picayune, Mississippi, SFG Classes February 22, 2014, from 10am-11:30am; taught by Brenda Myers, Certified SFG Instructor – Learn more

Minnesota – Pat and Connie Lahr, Certified SFG Instructors and Gardening World Wide Square Foot Gardening Community Education

Class Dates:
March 4, 2014 - St. Michael, Minn.
March 10, 2014 - Buffalo, Minn.
March 11, 2014 - Howard Lake, Minn.
March 13, 2014 - Monticello, Minn.
March 18, 2014 - Delano, Minn.
April 10, 2014 - St. Louis Park, Minn. 7 p.m.

Learn more

Zion Library, Illinois, Dunesland Garden Club, March 11, 2014, Square Foot Gardening class taught by Anne Marie Kowalski – Learn more

Western Nevada College, Carson City, Nancy & Ken Clarke, certified SFG Instructors offer Square Foot Gardening Classes, 4/12/2014 - 4/26/2014 Learn more

Western Nevada College, Fallon, Nancy Clarke instructor, Fee: $51.00
Dates: 4/12/2014 - 5/3/2014                 

Days: Saturday Sessions: 4 

Times: 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM Learn more

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, 1000 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids Charter Township, MI 49525, (616) 957-1580. Two classes:

·         Square Foot Gardening Part 1 2014

Grow more food in less space with much less effort. Learn how to create the perfect soil, build raised beds, and use the square foot technique to achieve a bountiful harvest using organic methods. INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Richard Peters
Tuesday, March 4
Fee: $20 members, $27 non-members
Applies toward MSU Extension Master Gardener education credit
·         Square Foot Gardening Part 2 2014

In this extended course, designed for those who have taken Part 1, learn about growing techniques using trellises and cages, how to control common pests organically, proven ways to plant in succession, and tips for crop rotation. Then discover valuable tips for several popular vegetables like beets, spinach, snap peas and carrots. INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Richard Peters
Tuesday, March 18
Fee: $20 members, $27 non-members
Applies toward MSU Extension Master Gardener education credit.  
Learn more
University of Tennessee Gardens, Crossville -
Square Foot Gardening
Saturday, April 5, 2014
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
What: Join Master Gardener Fred Mullen as he shares the techniques and tips to
successful Square Foot Gardening.
Where: UT Gardens-Crossville, 320 Experiment Station Road, Crossville, TN
Price: Free
To register: Call 931-484-0034 or email

Denver Urban Homesteading, Denver, Colorado, March 8, Square Foot Gardening Classes by Regina Chilton- Parris
Learn more

Ongoing GROUP classes for 2014 with discounted rates “Introduction to SFG” by Jim Teahan, Certified SFG instructor. Jim offers various groups-only packages featuring classes in Salt Lake City, UT, throughout the state of Utah, and one package is offered in Utah, southern Idaho, and southern California.
Learn more