Fairview NC Town Crier Gives a Shout Out to Muddy Boots

The Town Crier is a local newspaper in Fairview, North Carolina with quite a following. The folks there were nice enough to do a write-up about Muddy Boots Plant Tags in their March 2017 issue. It is purely a print publication with the full 32-page publication posted online as a PDF at their website.

They covered everything nicely from the innovative nature of the Muddy Boots Plant Tags concept to the interactive QR-coded plant tags to the robust garden record-keeping web application. Thanks very much Fairview Town Crier.

We’ve included a clipping, courtesy of the Fairview Town Crier.

Fairview Town Crier Article - March 2017

Read the full 32-page issue of the March 2017 Fairview Town Crier HERE»

Garden-Based Education and Learning

Image Courtesy of Dylan Duverge
Image Courtesy of Dylan Duverge

Garden-based learning puts hands on activities in the garden at the heart of encouraging children to learn by connecting with nature. Many kids would rather touch things than hear an adult talk about things, so getting their hands dirty and their boots muddy is an increasingly popular approach with many benefits: not the least of which is connecting children with a major natural food source.

A Common Description of Garden-Based Learning

Garden-based learning encompasses programs, activities and projects in which the garden is the foundation for integrated learning, in and across disciplines, through active, engaging, real-world experiences that have personal meaning for children, youth, adults and communities in an informal outside learning setting. Garden-based learning is an instructional strategy that uses the garden as a teaching tool.

A Teacher’s Experience

A story from National Public Radio (NPR) described a teacher’s efforts to get children outside more and engaged with nature. It was based on the fact that kids in the United States are spending less time outside, for a variety of reasons. Even in kindergarten, the amount of time allocation to recess has been cut back, leading to less time outside and more time cooped up inside. A teacher in the small town of Quechee, Vt decided that she wanted to have her student spend an entire day outside. After contemplating the idea she realized that it wouldn’t fly in a public school. But she ran it by her principal and much to her surprise the principal said, “try it.”

It’s called Forest Monday. Every Monday the kids suit up and go outside, regardless of the weather. [READ MORE]

Benefits of Garden-Based Learning

Cornell University has a garden-based learning program and reports several benefits of the program that are backed by a variety of research studies:

Nutrition awareness. Kids and families who are involved in gardening become more aware of and interested in fruits and vegetables, having a potentially positive influence on health.

Environmental awareness. Elementary school and junior high school students gained more positive attitudes about environmental issues after participating in a school garden program.

Learning achievements. Elementary school students who participated in school gardening activities scored significantly higher on science achievement tests than those who did not participate in any garden-based learning activities.

Documenting Garden-Based Learning

As kids embark on garden-based learning, it’s important to track progress and make notes of what is learned along the way. Documenting a garden is important, especially when it’s related to garden-based learning. Keeping track of plantings with a garden-record keeping system such as Muddy Boots Plant Tags can help preserve an historic record of the garden from breaking ground to blooms or harvests.

Additional Resources

The Garden-Based Education website.

The Garden-Based Learning Wikipedia page.

The Cornell University list of Garden-Based Learning Publications.

From Cornell University – Why Garden in Schools.

Spending on Lawns and Gardens Jumps, Led by Millennials and Boomers

APRIL 27, 2016 – The U.S. is a nation full of gardeners – and they’re spending more money on their lawns and gardens than in recent years. Lawn and garden spending reached a reported $36.1 billion dollars in 2015 according to recently released results of the annual National Gardening Survey, bouncing back from a five-year low in 2014.

“Participation in gardening did not decline much during the economic downturn,” says industry analyst Bruce Butterfield, who adds, “people have been participating in gardening all along but they weren’t spending as much in recent years.” The average amount spent on the back yard or balcony nationwide in 2015 was $401 per household, up from a low of $317 in 2014.

“The $36 billion dollar question is if lawn and garden sales will stay at this level in the future,” says Butterfield, who heads the National Gardening Market Research Company and oversees the survey each year. “These results are encouraging. Not only did DIY gardening have 6 million more customers, they spent more, too,” adds Butterfield.

An estimated 90 million households participated in do-it-yourself lawn and gardening activities last year – in and outdoors. That’s about 75-percent of all U.S. households. According to the survey, the highest spending was among baby boomers, married households, those with annual incomes of over $75,000 and college graduates – but the most important market force was 18-34 year olds. Five million of the six million ‘new’ gardening households were Millennials.

Food gardening and flower gardening were the most popular gardening activities last year. About one out of three households participated in food gardening (36%) or flower gardening (34%). Households spent an estimated $3.6 billion growing vegetables, fruit, berries and herbs and $2.7 billion on flower gardening.

The 250 page National Gardening Survey report can be purchased at GardenResearch.com.

The report includes analysis by Butterfield and an extended additional analysis of the data and commentary on the gardening market by Ian Baldwin, a leading national business advisor to garden and hardware retailers.

Better Homes And Gardens Survey Finds That Millennial Generation Values Personalization As Top Priority For The Home

74% Say Smart Home Technology Aids Customization; 64% Say Smart Home Technology Easily Integrates into Personal Style, Taste and Décor.


LAS VEGAS, Jan. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Better Homes and Gardens, the leading lifestyle brand that reaches nearly 40 million readers each month, today released findings from its eighth-annual exclusive survey revealing attitude and behavior trends of homeowners in the U.S. This year’s research focused on the millennial generation and its preferences on customization and smart technology in home design. Just over 1,600 U.S. female homeowners living in single-family homes shared their thoughts on home improvement spending, the importance of functional design, and value in home technology.

During a presentation at the National Association of Home Builders Show in Las Vegas, Jill Waage, Brand Executive Editor for Better Homes and Gardens, presented these findings and offered insight on the needs of today’s current and future homeowners.

“Our research shows that women 35 and under feel strongly that their homes are a reflection of their own personalities,” Waage says. “Further, members of this generation view technology as a way to customize living spaces to fit their needs. Year over year, millennials are increasingly adopting a positive outlook on the incorporation of smart technology into their homes, and are using it to personalize the homeowner experience.”

Key findings from this year’s “Home Factor” survey include:


Millennials place importance on maintaining a home that is more personalized to their preferences than the generation before them. Almost two-thirds (63% percent) of millennial respondents surveyed say that having a home customized to their tastes and needs is a top priority. Similarly, 6 in 10 millennial respondents say that having a home that is “a reflection of me” is more important to them than to their parents’ generation.


Smart technology is increasingly seen by U.S. women, particularly those under 35, as a feature that improves home safety, health, and connections with families. Millennials agree that smart technology is customizable to their needs (74%), makes their homes more energy efficient (70%), and saves them time (67%).

Shifting Attitudes

As opposed to just one year ago, millennials have a more positive outlook on smart technology in the home:

  • In 2015, 68% of millennials said that smart home technology is a good investment, as compared to only 57% in 2014.
  • In 2015, 73% of millennials said that smart home technology makes their homes safer, as compared to only 64% in 2014.
  • Millennials today think that smart technology makes their homes healthier (64%), compared to only 55% in 2014.
  • Further, the millennial cohort feels that smart home technology is becoming easier to maintain.
  • Fifty-five percent of millennial respondents say that smart home features are easily maintained and upgraded, as compared to only 46% of millennial respondents in 2014.

Smart Technology Use

Today, 54% of homeowners under 35 use at least one of the 16 smart technology features measured in the study. On their wish list, 39% of millennials say that they would most like to use smart devices to operate appliance settings, while 36% say they would like quality sleep tracking and reporting.

Technology Customization

Seventy-four percent of millennial respondents say that smart technology is customizable to their needs, while 64% say that it can be integrated into their style, taste and décor.

Costs of Home Technology

Though respondents say that home technology is customizable to their needs, only 51% of millennial respondents say smart technology is customizable to their budget. Across generations, 7 in 10 respondents say smart technology costs a lot of money.


Compared to older generations, millennials are willing to pay more for high-quality products. However, while 44% say they are willing to spend top dollar to get exactly the features and quality they want, 60% also say they are willing to compromise on what they want in order to save money.

Of those surveyed, one in five homeowners is in the process of planning or working on an interior project – led by those ages 35 and younger. While millennial homeowners are similar to older homeowners with regard to the many types of projects they are working on and planning, survey responses found a higher interest in creating office space and adding storage at home:

  • 13% of millennial homeowners are creating a home office, work space, or family communication center.
  • 15% of millennial homeowners are adding storage space.

The idea of personalization also extends into exterior spaces:

  • 1 in 3 millennials says that exterior makeovers are expensive and not worth the investment.
  • Compared to traditional curb appeal projects like new doors, paint or roofing, landscaping ranked as the top priority (at 44%) for millennials looking to boost curb appeal.
  • About half of millennials (51%) report that they decorate their outdoor living space like they would an indoor dining or living room. More than three-quarters (77%) say they want their outdoor living space to feel like a relaxing retreat.

Millennials surveyed report they are looking to upgrade or make additions to their outdoor living spaces, including landscape lighting (27%), a fire pit (26%), and lamps or party lights (24%). Almost one-quarter of millennials (24%) plan to add or upgrade comfortable seating, outdoor dining tables and chairs, and other accessories that make the outdoor area feel like a room.

“The places where millennials choose to spend their money are very telling of the values within this generation,” Waage notes. “The addition of a home work space speaks to the mobile millennial who is less confined by a corporate office or job. The emphasis on outdoor living and entertaining testifies to the importance of togetherness. And with the addition of smart home technology, millennial attitudes toward the home incorporate connectivity in every sense.”

About the survey: The quantitative online survey was fielded in October 2015 among 1,610 U.S. female homeowners living in single-family homes. Of those surveyed, 800 respondents (49.7%) are from the Better Homes and Gardens “Meredith Knows Women” consumer panel, while 810 respondents (50.3%) were secured through Survey Sampling Inc. to represent U.S. female homeowners.


Better Homes and Gardens serves, connects and inspires readers who infuse color and creativity into each aspect of their lives. Reaching 40 million readers a month via the most trusted print magazine, the brand also extends across a robust website, multiple social platforms, tablet editions, mobile apps, broadcast programs and licensed products. Better Homes and Gardens fuels our reader’s passions to live a more colorful life through stunning visuals, a balance of substance and surface, and a blend of expert and reader ideas. Better Homes and Gardens is published 12 times a year by Meredith Corporation, with a rate base of 7.6 million.


Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP; www.meredith.com) has been committed to service journalism for more than 110 years. Today, Meredith uses multiple distribution platforms – including broadcast television, magazines, digital, mobile, tablets and video – to provide consumers with content they desire and to deliver the messages of its advertising and marketing partners.

Meredith’s National Media Group reaches a multi-channel audience of 220 million consumers every month. Meredith is the leader in creating content across media platforms in key consumer interest areas such as food, home, parenthood and health through well-known brands such as Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Shape and Allrecipes. The National Media Group features robust brand licensing activities, including more than 3,000 SKUs of branded products at 4,000 Walmart stores across the U.S. Meredith Xcelerated Marketing is a leader at developing and delivering custom content and customer relationship marketing programs for many of the world’s top brands, including Kraft, Lowe’s and Chrysler.

Meredith’s Local Media Group includes 17 owned or operated television stations reaching 11 percent of U.S. households. Meredith’s portfolio is concentrated in large, fast-growing markets, with seven stations in the nation’s Top 25 – including Atlanta, Phoenix, St. Louis and Portland – and 13 in Top 50 markets. Meredith’s stations produce approximately 650 hours of local news and entertainment content each week, and operate leading local digital destinations.