Veg-Garden Coaching about to Take Off?


The Ecopreneurist declares:

A terrific ecopreneurial opportunity exists for people interested
in helping others set up, maintain and harvest organic gardens.  And
the industry is about to get a big shot in the arm from the Obama

Well, we sure hope so.  I recently met Josh, the highly recommended veg-gardening coach at My Organic Garden DC, and you'll be reading lots more about him here this season.


  1. I concur – lots of folks asking for this service lately – of having an edible garden set up for them that is, rather than be coached though – I think they are wanting to pay for the whole package up to the ripening and will take over the harvesting andeatting.

  2. I second Kathy’s observation. Here in Austin I’ve fielded several calls for help setting up or redoing veggie gardens. It’s not my area of expertise, so I keep asking around for a local coach to take on those opportunities.

  3. There’s a huge upsurge in edible interest with my existing clients, and my call/email volume has also shot up this year, many wanting edible design and coaching. It’s fantastic!

  4. Garden coaching? Geez, and I thought all the fun was in figuring out how to do it yourself, learning from your disasters, and having loads of fun along the way. Who knew?

  5. Happily there are always people who like teaching, and so many gardeners are generous with their skill – and time. Locally some people have arranged for volunteer garden coaches/mentors to work with new gardeners. I also attended a talk that mentioned a Landscaping Service in San Francisco that put in and maintained beautiful vegetable gardens – and charged just like any landscaper maintaining an ornamental landscape over the season. And extra produce went to a food pantry.

  6. Because we are a farming community, the community garden idea has not taken off until just recently. But it is finally happening here in “the country” where many young urbanites have moved in these last few years.

    A local former farmer/Steiner School teacher is now promoting her “Community Garden” scheme. She wants the public to pay a minimum of $300 per season for the small plots (not too small, 10×10, if I remember correctly) $600 for a double size and the privilege of attending 7 of her workshops to help you get going.

    I contacted the woman and asked her, Do you offer anything for those of us who do not need any workshops but find that we no longer have a piece of earth to grow veggies in? Her answer was no, followed by a verbose but very thin sales pitch which consisted mostly of “you get to come and enjoy the beautiful grounds anytime you wish.”

    I told her that I understand her need for an income but that I thought her fees were outrageous–given our very short growing season/the number of weeks one can actually expect to be harvesting. When I asked her if she has anything to offer those who are on fixed incomes–incomes that may be shrinking–she became silent.

    Clearly her scheme was hatched with the idea of cashing in on all those wall street rich kids moving to the country to raise their kids–people who probably really do need coaching and, once upon a time, had money to burn. I felt like telling her: If you aren’t going to have a TV in your house, you should find SOME outlet for getting the daily news re the economy!

    Another former farmer–many miles down the road from me/making it impractical for me personally–offers the same size garden plot, good soil, fenced, etc etc–for $50.

    Guess which farmer has sold out all of his community garden leases–and has had to create more to meet the demand?

  7. Oh yes, I forgot to add: The farmer charging $50 offers organically farmed soil, and one-on-one or group coaching, but no formal workshops.

  8. I think garden coaches are terrific. They offer the best kind of advice, which is local advice.

    Previous generations had parents and grandparents to show them how to do it.

    Most of us, however, had no such luck. We are the children and grandchildren of Organization Men who wouldn’t go near a manure pile if you paid them.

    So, the few old sages left out there are renting themselves out. It’s a public service.

    I try to give my own experience away to my neighbors for free, but so far no takers.

  9. I’m in the rural Midwest, so I have to snicker a bit, too…(Of course, I also snicker over things like: whereas I unschool my kids for free, my sister in Philly spends $25,000 a year to send hers to a fancy private school ;-)… but I can understand the need and potential for such services in larger metropolitan areas.

    Around here, if you don’t have enough yard for your veggie garden, you can do things like rent a 25×50 foot plot, tilled, for $20 at my husband’s place of business.

  10. I just told my sisters that I thought teaching people to garden again would be a growing opportunity since this was becoming a lost art.

  11. I agree with Michelle– Much of what I’ve learned about gardening came from the large gardens my mother and grandmother kept in our Midwest backyards that they could tend with being ‘stay at home’ parents. Unfortunately, many of us do not have this heritage or experience to learn from nor do they have the time or space.

    I’d also much rather see someone pay a local company to develop a garden in their backyard than see them buy organics shipped from China…

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