I didn’t really want to teach gardening at first. But I did want to make a difference in the world and I wanted more local food. I could grow food for other people, or I could teach them to grow it themselves. Ultimately, teaching made the biggest difference, and despite my reluctance to put myself out there, I had to just do it.
What began with a poorly attended “lecture” evolved over the years to be a 6-month gardening course. I was teaching 30 people each summer how to grow food and earning a decent part-time income. It was better than I ever thought it could be. And I thought to myself, why aren’t more people doing this?
Well, maybe you should? Here are my top 7 reasons why I think you should teach gardening.
• Become a Better Gardener - You don’t have to know everything to teach gardening, (can you ever really know everything?) but it certainly challenges you to learn more. When you are preparing lessons you might look up something that is confusing to you, or people might ask you questions you had never considered. Looking the answers up helps everyone learn together.
• Your Experience is Valuable – If you’ve been growing 2 seasons or 20, you have learned a thing or two about growing in your area. This hands-on experience is something that can’t be learned in a book or online.
• Help the Environment - Organic food grown at home has a very low ecological footprint. The more people grow at home the less they need to buy from factory farms which are very detrimental to the environment.
• Make New Friends - By teaching people to garden in your own community, you will meet many like-minded people. You may not become best friends with everyone, but you will get to meet and know many new people, and that is what community is all about!
• Help People - The act of gardening improves mental and physical health by getting people outside and connecting them with nature. People can save money on groceries while eating healthier food. Growing your own food is empowering and can lead people to making healthier choices in life. My students have been extremely grateful for my classes and that alone makes it worth it to teach.
• Have Fun – Teaching people to garden is really fun! In our classes we share food and drinks, we make jokes, and we work together.
• Make Money - You may not get rich teaching gardens, but you can definitely make it worth your while. I charge about $10 per class hour per person. If you have 10 people, that’s $100 per class hour. Of course you also have to take into consideration planning and preparation and marketing time. Check out my Green Thumb Teacher’s Manual to substantially cut down on this time.
If you decide to teach gardening or are interested in exploring the idea, you can join my free Facebook group, Teach Gardening. You can also check out the resources available on my website, TeachGardening.com.
I firmly believe teaching people how to grow their own food is an important, proactive step in helping create the kind, just and sustainable world that we want to live in. And it really helps that it is fun and rewarding too!