Clint Albin, Cheval Force Opp, and I chatted in Dallas, TX, at the recent Garden Writers Assn meeting about how few times we all see each other in person in our own city, so I put out a open invite for Garden Communicators (speakers, bloggers, writers, photographers, editors, etc.) in the greater DC-Baltimore region to join us for lunch. Ten of us gathered at Vicino's* and chatted up a storm.
While mostly white, female, and middle-aged, the 10 of us were from a range of backgrounds and garden communication outlets -- from big city newspaper reporters to hobby bloggers to garden center employees. We definitely spanned the spectrum of hort industry interests.
We had an "introduce yourself" round and then a "brag/share/challenges" round. It was great to hear what projects met with success and what are coming on the horizon from talented local communicators.
For example, we seem to all be covering food gardening extensively, yet there is still an outreach problem for the general public. They find it daunting and costly. Furthermore, once folks do go to the effort to grow it, then what? We need to complete the loop for them.
There were grumblings about social media and the demise of many local news outlets. It didn't take long for the conversation to turn to a notably absent local garden writer (directly invited, but no response) and his unkind words regarding a nearby public garden many of us adore. We mourned the recent death of one of Robin Ripley's chickens and thrilled to Cheval's road trip stories. Some of the communicators shared their "what-I-told-my-boss-so-I-could-attend-this-lunch" tales. Others comments on the direction GWA is headed and whether it was serving its membership's needs. Thankfully, the Cooks Source debacle did not rear its ugly head and we all were headed home or back to the office to digest our meals in peace.
We'll be doing this again. Likely timing will be early January at MANTS in Baltimore, MD.
*The well-worn East Silver Spring, MD neighborhood, family, Italian eatery -- great food, good service, low prices -- 10 of us ate and ate and it came to under $95! Hey, any restaurant that gives us free aps and dessert has my loyalty.