Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 2015 Newsletter

Instructors on the Move

Amie Hall's SFG display at a local event in CT

LaManda Joy, heads up a community garden in Chicago, IL called the Peterson Project . She has written a book called "Start a Community Garden" Visit the project website
Norma Brunson has written a new book called "Sustainable Living for the Globe". Read the chapter in it written by Mel !

Promote SFG and Earn $ from Your Blog or Website

In an effort to support you as our valued certified instructors and to spread the SFG method,we have now launched an affiliate marketing program that allows you to earn income by simply placing one of our banners on your site. The banners below are examples of what we have created for you to use. They are embedded with a link which tracks your account and pays you 10% of every purchase that takes place. We have invested in this program and hope you will take advantage of it. You do need a blog or website for this program so please email belinda@squarefootgardening.com if you would like help creating one.   Click here to Join Our Affiliate Program 


"Mel's Best" Blue Ribbon Series
Have you heard about Mels' blue ribbon series? He has been busy producing audio recordings about some of his favorite SFG topics. Here's message he sent out on Mother's Day speaking about his own mother and the success of growing vegetables in 6" of soil. 

                    Welcome These New Certified Instructors!
These dynamic individuals really add to our valued community of Square Foot Gardening certified instructors and we welcome them warmly.  They have demonstrated passion and ability in this new endeavor and we are excited to have them aboard.

Janet Kenyon  Lawrenceville,GA

Martha Rodriguez Harlingen,TX

Courtney McMillan  British Columbia, Canada

Deena Taylor Mineola TX
Joanne Lionetti Franklin Square, NY

                        Did You Miss an Online CI Meet Up? 
                                                           Here are the recording links--

                      "Building your SFG Brand" Learn how to market yourself online and in your community and secure teaching opportunities.      http://www.anymeeting.com/SFGF/E950DF8486493D

An Interview with Renee Shepherd of Renee's Garden 

"Digging Around"
Resources for Instructor Improvement

 Read last month's article- "Charging for your Classes" http://sfgteachers.blogspot.com/

Throwing a Pebble into a Pond
By Kim Roman
When you throw a pebble into a pond what happens? Ripples start to form and spread further and further out. The ripples closest to the center are the most well-defined and recognizable, but sometimes we only focus on the outer ripples and watch them spread across the water. I want you to think about that for a moment and visualize it. When you think of where to teach classes, or how to find students, do you look at what’s closest to you before venturing out further?
Do you attend a church? Are you a member of a social or civic club? The PTA? How about your kids or grandkids? Are they involved in Scouts or 4H? Members of the swim team? Eco-club? Do local businesses welcome speakers? Have you joined your local Chamber of Commerce?
If they’re not interested, do they know someone who is? Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral. If they’re uncomfortable giving you someone’s information, don’t push. Instead, if you have a business card, ask them to pass it along. Even if you don’t have professionally made cards, you can use your computer to find a business card template. You type in your information just once and it will produce a whole page for you. Print out as many as you need and cut them apart.
Or course looking farther out isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes we look so hard that we forget what might be right around the corner . . . or even in our own home. The number of places to teach is virtually endless – your home, libraries, garden clubs, churches, schools, someone else’s home, community centers, community gardens, etc. You need to decide in advance where you would like to teach and then you can figure out the best way to get those classes.
If you’d like to teach at a local community college you’ll need to “sell” the idea to the department head. Once you express interest they will usually send you a packet of information. Usually they will be offered as a Continuing/Adult Education (non-credit) class. The classes will be given a unique class designation (i.e., HT-158) but you will be asked to also give it a title like Intro to Square Foot Gardening, Advanced Square Foot Gardening, Your Fall Square Foot Garden, etc. My SFG 101 and SFG 201 classes can EACH be broken down into four 1-hour sessions or two 2-hour sessions. You will need to come up with a course description, a syllabus for the entire course and a description for each separate session. The pay was decent and it was pretty cool to put down “adjunct faculty” on my bio but the biggest benefit was that I was able to take free classes at the college.
In that last paragraph I mentioned a bio. You will want to keep a photo of yourself and a short bio handy at all times. Every group that hosts you will want to showcase your talk or class in their newsletter, the newspaper, etc. Of course the best photo would be of you out in your garden or a close-up of you with a basket of vegetables.
Where are some of the “odd” places I’ve taught?
A local framing and knickknack shop stays open late once a week and invites diverse speakers to come.
An organization that turns empty lots where they’ve torn down abandoned row-houses invited me to teach on a street corner in downtown Baltimore.
A “fair trade” store for their Earth Day celebration.
I taught a core group from a homeless shelter. Two years ago I gave them a 2’x2’, Mel’s Mix, a book and some seeds and transplants. I asked them to “pay it forward.” They loved it so much that the residents sold donated items to get money to make more raised beds for the other semi-permanent residence homes.
Hopefully I’m going to work with an organization that helps settle refugees. They are housing several in a small old motel that went out of business years ago.
A street corner in downtown Baltimore where an abandoned row house had been demolished.
This is just my preference, but when teaching a church mission group, homeless shelter residents, teachers and many kids’ groups I teach them free. If they’re friends and I know they can’t afford it I teach them for free and ask them to handle registration and book sales for me. If they can afford a little, I teach them for half-price if they bring a friend (who also pays half price).
Getting with Boy/Girl Scout troops is really great. After giving them a free class, and building a relationship with them, they may be a great source of labor for you if you do a community garden or install a raised bed at an assisted living facility.
Giving a free, or discounted class to teachers may result in them asking you back for a fundraiser. It fell through at the last minutes but a charter school wanted me to teach a class and sell books and we would split the profits.
My Chamber of Commerce hosted a class for members recently and fourteen students showed up. For this class the director asked me to charge more for the class to cover the cost to provide everyone with a container that we filled with Mel’s Mix and planted a tomato or pepper plant (that I grow from seed for no cost).
So where are you going to teach your next class?