In 1996, Mel Bartholomew created the Square Foot Gardening Foundation. Its mission? To end world hunger, one Square Foot at a time. For more than 20 years, the Foundation has continued Mel’s vision by encouraging new gardeners to learn about the Square Foot Method, by providing grant money to mission-aligned nonprofits, and by running the Certified Instructor Program to assist people who want to teach Mel’s method around the world.
With its emphasis on plant-based nutrition, self-sufficiency, and low-impact food production, the Square Foot Gardening Foundation remains true to its creator’s vision — a simple way for anyone, anywhere, to grow their own food.
What is Square Foot Gardening?
Square Foot Gardening is a unique, fun, and efficient way to garden — and it’s different than regular old raised bed gardening with traditional row planting! Developed by Civil Engineer Mel Bartholomew, Square Foot Gardening uses a basic 4’ x 4’ raised bed box (with various size and shape configurations possible), Mel’s Mix™ (a soilless mixture that’s optimal for growing), and a grid to guide your planting and spacing.
Many of the frustrating issues gardeners face when using traditional methods are eliminated or reduced with Square Foot Gardening — most notably, waste of precious resources like time, space, water, and energy. This highly efficient method creates healthier gardens, larger harvests…and happier, more fulfilled gardeners!
What is the Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor Program?
The Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor (CI) Program is a 2-step program to educate interested gardeners in the Square Foot Method so that they can teach and educate others.
The first step is to complete the Level 1 Introductory SFG Course, during which you’ll become familiar with the Square Foot Method, including the 10 Basics, 8 Steps, how to build boxes and grids, how to create Mel’s Mix™, and how to plant and maintain your SFG. This valuable program is available in an online format and includes handy downloads and multiple video clips to help you feel confident in your new SFG skills.
The second and final step is the Level 2 Intermediate Certified Instructor Course, which culminates in your designation as a Certified Instructor. People who are familiar with Square Foot Gardening and passionate about growing food are great candidates for the CI Program, including teachers, community garden leaders, and Master Gardeners (just to name a few!). CIs can start their own SFG-based business or speaking career, initiate humanitarian projects, and teach people all over the world how to grow their own food using fewer resources — and with much more success!
How do I become a Certified Instructor?
Becoming a CI is a two step process. Start by completing the Level 1 Introductory SFG Course and move on to complete Level 2 Intermediate Certified Instructor Course when it becomes available. You can purchase Level One and Two together now, for an early bird discount. Complete at your convenience, pass the quiz, show us your SFG and you’re done!
All proceeds from course go to benefit the mission of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.