THE GROWER PROGRAM
Training for 21st century landscapers.
A collaboration between Roots Down, community colleges and local workforce development organizations, the Grower Program is a 2 hour online course that helps landscapers join the Green Jobs Revolution.
The Grower Program is ecological education for 21st landscapers. Offered through Georgia Piedmont Technical College, this online course covers the basics of Productive Urban Landscape maintenance, giving landscaping professionals the foundational knowledge they need to enter the growing ecological landscaping market.
We work with local community colleges and workforce development organizations to make it easy for landscapers to get the training they need. Through economic incentives, inexpensive courses, and access to marketing support, the Grower Program gives you the resources you need to start servicing ecological landscapes.
The Grower Program does more than train landscapers, it also comes with exclusive Roots Down Membership, which gives landscapers access to eco-conscious homeowners. No matter your training level, Landscaper Membership can help you grow your landscaping business.
Get Level 1-3 landscaping certification.
We offer certifications at different levels for design, install, and maintenance of Productive Urban Landscapes.
Learn how to design better landscapes with our nested Design certification. Level 1 introduces you to common plants and design principals, and by Level 3 you'll be able to design your own Productive Urban Landscapes.
The Grower Program uses real-life community pilot projects in order to provide landscapers the chance to get hands-on experience installing Productive Urban Landscapes.
Landscape maintenance is arguably the most important part of the process, which is why we offer nested certifications in Productive Urban Landscape maintenance.
Level 1 Maintenance certification.
Our flagship course is Level 1 Maintenance certification, where landscapers learn the basics of maintaining ecological landscapes.
Plant ID & Health
Plants are changing, dynamic living organisms with a variety of appearances, preferences and seasonality. We realize it may not be a realistic possibility for crews to learn all the plants on their sites, but there are some general knowledge items that will help crew understand the landscape needs better and be able to treat them appropriately to ensure more beautiful and healthy long lasting landscapes.
Bush & Woody Plant Trimming
Bushes grow seasonally and some more enthusiastically than others! Many of our eyes have been trained to see these bushes as rounded/sculpted shapes, but that is typically not what the bushes want to be trained to do! There are many benefits to changing both techniques and frequency for trimming bushes on our sites.
There are always going to be those plants that stick above the other ones, and there are always going to be dead crowns of plants that need to be removed seasonally. Weed eaters are immensely helpful with addressing these issues. Unfortunately, quite often weed eaters end up eating more than the weeds, but the plants that we want to stay and flourish. There are a few other issues with the use of this equipment that could be addressed so that we get the best use of the this tool.
A plant in a place you don’t want it, is otherwise known as a ‘weed’. Different folks have different perspectives on what exactly a ‘weed’ is, so this leads to confusion and a lot of times. Plants that were planted intentionally get the weed treatment by accident! Herbicides are often overused when they should be applied sparingly. What are the specific problems with improper spraying and how can we change our methods to enjoy a number of benefits?
Mowing is a necessary and important part of most landscape maintenance jobs. Over the last few decades, we have changed from using push reel powers to push gas mowers to gas riding mowers. While this allows for quicker turn around on project sites it also has considerable downsides. How can we optimize use of mowers to get the most benefit?
Blowers are a useful tool and can speed up the clean up of sites. They do however, have a few downsides and when overused, both by individual operators and multiple operators at a time, they can create more problems than they are solving. Let’s rethink how we apply this portable tool that freed us (mostly) of the rake.
Mulch is more important than it looks. It helps retain water around newly establishing and existing plants, can serve to deflect the sun’s rays and can also inhibit weed growth in areas where you are not going to mow or do not yet have plants. The decaying material gives the roots of the plants what they need to keep growing. Mulch is both protection and food. Oftentimes people get a little overenthusiastic with their mulching and use too much, or sometimes, neglect mulching entirely. Here are some issues with how mulching is often completed and how we can improve on it.
While less frequent than some of the other categories in this list, trimming can have long term effect on the health of the plant. It can solve problems in the future, or when done incorrectly, can create problems in the future that can’t be fixed.
Grower Program Resources
Looking for a few resources to get you started? We got you covered!
Can Urban Agriculture solve job and food insecurity?
Yes! One of the best parts of the Fruitful Communities plan is that it solves for three key issues all governments have: food insecurity, job growth, and community engagement. By converting grassy, resource-intensive spaces into Productive Urban Landscapes, communities can create shared places that create good green collar jobs, provide ample food for struggling residents, and an education and community activation location.
What is a Productive Urban Landscape (PUL)?
Productive Urban Landscapes, at their core, are places with soul, places that use natural processes to minimize work and inputs and maximize everything that makes nature great. PULs are landscapes that promote 3 simple elements: Food, Ecology, and Community. They are dynamic landscapes that integrate some elements of traditional landscaping (like organized planting patterns and areas to sit, eat, and play) but bring in elements of the natural world (like biodiversity, pollinator habitats, etc.) and plants that provide us with food (like veggies, berries, and fruit trees). PULs can help heal our lands and feed both our bodies and our souls.
How can I bring Roots Down to my city?
If you'd like to see landscaper training in your community, reach out to us and let's chat!
What is Urban Agriculture?
At its heart, urban agriculture is simply agriculture in urban areas. Although it’s a relatively new term, urban agriculture has been around for as long as we’ve had urban areas. Whether it’s a fruit tree, small garden, herbs in a windowsill, backyard chickens, flowers, or just a good ole pile of compost, there is a long history of urban agriculture, even if we didn’t define it that way. However, when we dig a bit deeper, there are a lot of significant differences between agriculture and urban agriculture.