Aug 2, 2012
Goodwill All AroundBy pmihalek

Can I have 50 bucks? How about a $50 gift card for the silent auction, or might you have a few minutes to talk about sponsoring the upcoming garden walk?

Yes … No?

Maybe you can check with the owner and then get back to me.

Seeing that your business is respected, local and family-owned, getting hit up for donations just comes with the territory.

That said, what exactly are you doing to give back?

two to start

Generating some community goodwill should always be top-of-mind for your garden center. It should be an uncomplicated process, because, in reality, most of the work is already done for you — no starting from scratch.

Just last month at OFA Short Course in Columbus, Ohio, I encountered two goodwill opportunities in as many days — both perfect to hitch your wagon to.

The first came on a pre-OFA hort tour with Sid Raisch of Horticultural Advantage in the southwest corner of Ohio. We visited two garden centers, a growing operation, a high-end grocery chain and, most importantly, Granny’s Garden School.

Led by Roberta Paolo (Granny), Granny’s Garden School began with the simple goal to give children the opportunity to pick flowers. Today, this non-profit is now enjoyed by all of her school district’s first to fourth graders.

Roberta is giving slimy earthworms a cool factor, all the while cultivating youngsters into future garden center customers. Visit to learn more about this unbelievable lady and her growing school gardens program.

Speaking of reaching the youth, Burpee Home Gardens announced its next big effort to make vegetable gardening more accessible by taking to the road with the Burpee food truck. The truck will make 25 stops on its 13-week cross-country tour and give away 39,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and 13,000 vegetable plants to people living in food deserts.

IGCs and communities can help select future truck destinations and also follow the truck’s progress on an interactive map and information app on and on Twitter at #GrowAnywhere.

See, two great causes to get behind without giving away the farm.

So whether you plan to donate time, dollars or a few old tools, know the need for your interest will always be there — usually with an impressionable child on the receiving end.



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