Long before the Canadian Cancer Society got on board, many groups were working hard to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides in this country. Hudson, Quebec was the first municipality to initiate a ban in 1991. When I was at City Farmer, we paid a visit to the City of Seattle to check out their natural lawn care program including their wildly successful mulching mower distribution. A similar distribution program was launched here and Vancouver’s Grow Natural program was inspired by Seattle’s exemplary work.
In the fall of 2005, I was hired as the marketing and sales coordinator for Evergreen. I was specifically charged with promoting their Lawn and Garden Smart program. When you signed up, a garden consultant would come to your home, evaluate your yard and garden and provide recommendations to improve your ecological standing. In your follow up package, there might be suggestions for improving design, a list of replacement plantings including native and drought tolerant plants, tips on composting or adding drip irrigation and a rain barrel. The initial consultation was $75 and then the client could book subsequent design and coaching services from there.
At the BC Home and Garden Show, we created a series of small gardens demonstrating some of the unique and beautiful ways you can interpret natural yard care. The Evergreen Vignettes as we called them, included a moss garden (you never have to mow it!), a children’s garden, a rain garden and a green roof. We offered the house call for $25 as a show special. Needless to say we hit Agnes on the nose. Agnes was our primary target market, 25-40 years old, internet savvy, a first time home owner, with post secondary education, inexperienced in gardening, but willing to try new experiences. We sold 150 consultations over five days.
Sadly, this excellent program is no longer offered due to funding cuts. More disappointing is the BC Government’s recent decision not to ban the cosmetic use of pesticides. Even though seven provinces have a ban in place and 70 percent of British Columbians support a ban. Not very smart.