The Wrong Way to Teach Eco-Friendly Gardening by Susan Harris

I recently attended a “Green Yards and Gardens” talk in my town. The intern giving the talk was more knowledgeable than I expected, but the topics covered were no surprise: natives, invasives, pesticides, composting, and rain barrels, the usual bullet points. Afterward I asked some attendees I knew how they liked the talk and wasn’t surprised by their disappointment: “We thought we’d learn to garden.” Lecturing people about what NOT to do resonates with some – the already eco-minded – but fails to excite people about gardening or show them how to succeed at it. I’ve come to believe that turning people into gardeners should be the number one goal of all communications about eco-friendly or sustainable gardening. Sure, mention at the end of the talk or article the practices they should avoid, but focusing on the negatives is just counterproductive. I’ve noticed this misguided approach over the years and a quick survey reveals that it’s as prominent as ever. For example, a county in Ca..
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