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Landscapers learn new niche through Green Gardener program

“Farmer Fred” Hoffman gave the keynote address at the recent Green Gardener graduation ceremony.

Trained Professionals Help Residents Create Beautiful, Sustainable Landscapes


Top names in the sustainable landscaping industry recently gathered to celebrate new Green Gardener graduates.

Green Gardeners are landscape professionals that undergo an intensive, 10-week training course in sustainable, River-Friendly landscaping. During the course, participants learn principles and practices that can help reduce urban runoff and conserve water.

"The Green Gardener program is important to the Sacramento region because it trains landscaping professionals to garden responsibly and to protect our resources, especially our waterways," said Debbie Flower, Horticulture Professor at American River College and one of the industry leaders who attended the graduation. "The program also provides a niche for professionals to market their services, which can be especially important in this economic environment."

More and more homeowners are asking their landscapers for safer, healthier gardening products and methods, said Kellogg Garden Products Manager Rex Lamb, another industry leader who attended the event.

"Homeowners are catching on that they gotta be green. They  want to landscape organically, in a way that’s healthier for their family," Lamb said, adding that Kellogg now sells more organic fertilizers than synthetic fertilizers 10 to one in Northern California.

The graduation honored 72 Green Gardener graduates. Since the program launched in fall 2009, more than 200 landscape professionals have attended Green Gardener classes, and nearly 150 have graduated. Graduates include contractors, designers, arborists, irrigation experts and maintenance professionals.

Among the 16 special industry guests who attended the event were:
• "Farmer Fred" Hoffman (Keynote Speaker), lifetime Master Gardener and host of the "KFBK Garden Show" on NewsTalk 1530
• John Perrino, Co-founder and Chief Operation Officer of Vermicrop Organics
• Dave Phelps, Sustainability Manager for Cagwin & Dorward landscape contractors
• Ron Silva, Delta Bluegrass Company

"Considering that more than 65 percent of a household’s water use typically goes toward landscape irrigation, and that more than 30 percent of that is lost to overwatering and evaporation, Green Gardeners provide in important service," said RWA Water Efficiency Program Manager Amy Talbot. "They are a great resource for residents looking to create a beautiful, sustainable landscape but don’t know where to begin."

The Green Gardener training program is sponsored by the Regional Water Authority and River-Friendly Landscaping Coalition. A list of qualified Green Gardeners can be found at www.BeWaterSmart.info. 

About the Regional Water Authority: RWA is a joint powers authority representing 25 water providers and affiliates in the greater Sacramento area. Its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources.

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