“Northern Gardener is here!” My wife and I, together with our 17,000+ readers, eagerly await each bold splash of color, expertise and inspiration in our mailboxes.
In 2023, Northern Gardener will shift to four print publications plus one shorter online supplement. This is based on feedback from member surveys, researching other publications and extensive analysis. I would like to share with you the key ways this is a healthy evolution for our beloved, 150-year-running flagship product.
Money: The initial impetus was financial. We have not raised subscription and membership costs in over a decade, while the cost of printing and postage has steadily increased then skyrocketed in the past year. Reducing the number of print editions allows us to cover these costs while keeping Northern Gardener affordable and accessible to our broad community.
Environment: Our spring survey showed that our members share our concern about the environmental impact of our mailings. Less editions means less paper and less shipping. We are also reinvesting some of the cost savings to start using high quality recycled paper. Gardening is the epitome of caring for the earth, and this shift is in alignment with our core values as a gardening community.
Seasonality: While saving money and saving the earth are highly motivating, the biggest benefit is that our publication can now naturally follow the seasonal flow of gardening. The spring edition can guide us through the frenzy of new prep and planting, and the winter edition can soothe and console us in the quiet time of reflection, planning and celebrating. Each issue will be longer to allow for more seasonal-focused features. The popular This Season in the Garden column will be expanded to truly reflect the season, not an arbitrary 2-month block.
Quality: What is NOT changing is our commitment to high quality writing, photography and design, and the laser focus on growing here in the north. In our spring survey, members rated the magazine content an incredibly high 4.62 on a scale of 1 to 5. We are building on that excellence with more features and seasonal focus. My mother would outright disown me if we did anything to compromise her beloved Northern Gardener (and she doesn’t even live in zones 3-5!)
While our spring survey respondents were overall remarkably open to this shift, I respect that some of you have reservations about this change. To be honest, I too needed time to adjust and explore the reasoning I’ve just shared above. Thank you, friends, for your ongoing support and your honest communication through this transition.
Please continue to share your thoughts. We have an open survey that helps us continually improve and adapt to meet your needs and interests. We love receiving emails and phone calls. And we cherish the honor of continuing to serve the community through publishing Northern Gardener.
Rick Juliusson, the hort society's executive director, has been driving education, international development and nonprofit consulting projects around the globe.
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