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Mel Bartholomews path to arguably the most influential backyard gardener was an untraditional one. A civil engineer by profession and frustrated gardener by weekend, Bartholomew was convinced unmanageable single-row gardening was a waste of energy and output. After his research yielded responses such as "but that's the way we've always done it," Bartholomew condensed the unmanageable single-row space to 4x4 feet, amended the soil, and bingo.. .he developed a gardening system that yields 100% of the harvest in 20% of the space.
Bartholomew's Square Foot Method quickly gained popularity and strength, ultimately converting more than one million gardeners worldwide. "Square Foot Gardening," the highest-rated PBS gardening show to date, launched in 1981 and ran weekly for five years, followed later by a weekly Square Foot Show on the Discovery Network. In 1986 the creation of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and the "Garden in Every School Yard Program" brought the technique to an estimated 3,000 schools nationwide.
As fan mail and testimonials from thousands of gardeners across the country arrived, Bartholomew realized that his Square Foot Method was relevant on a global scale. Converted into Square Meter Gardening, Bartholomew seized an opportunity to bring the dietary benefits of his revolutionary system to millions of malnourished Third World citizens. His global humanitarian effort, orchestrated through the Square Meter international Training Centers in Lehigh, Utah and Homestead, Florida, trained international humanitarian organizations and leaders in the Square Meter Method. Since its launch, Bartholomew's global outreach initiative has spread from Africa to Asia to South America and is recognized as a resounding success by nonprofit human interest groups.
And there are no signs of slowing down. Bartholomew's global outreach continues throughout the world while closer to home, attention has shifted to increasing the Square Foot presence in the California school system. Bartholomew is determined to continue and strengthen the well established Square Foot programs and institutions across the nation and the globe.
Bartholomew operates his nonprofit Square Foot Gardening foundation in Eden, Utah.
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