Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Q&A with Frank Crandall, Owner of Horticultural Solutions and NOFA Teacher

Question: Please describe your business - who does it serve?

Horticultural Solutions, LLC: I am the owner of an organic landscape design, maintenance, and construction firm in Charlestown, RI. I have been primarily organic since 2005 experiencing an increase in organic services each year. Additionally, I speak at NOFA Courses, give organic workshops and consult with other landscape firms looking to improve their business organization, profitability and organic services offered.

Frank Crandall
Question: What is the state of the organic gardening industry? Where do you see the greatest growth and what’s driving it?

The demand for organic services has increased steadily over the past 5 years…mainly from customer concerns about chemicals used on their lawns, in their gardens and throughout their properties. The concern for the environment, child and pet safety and wanting to do the right thing influences customer’s desires to have environmentally friendly landscape services. Our clientele, mostly homeowners living on coastal properties, are concerned about chemical use that will affect their families, pets and local sensitive areas like ponds, the ocean and streams.

Question: What are some of the most common challenges professionals face in caring for the land organically and what approach do you take to solving them?

Organic veggie gardens increasing in popularity

Commonly, new clients think organics will not work and they are expensive…two myths that need to be explained before new customers will consider organic services. We have many examples to show clients that organic lawn care, landscape health care and organic vegetable gardening not only work but produce extremely healthy, productive and pesticide free landscapes. Although the initial cost of transitioning to organic care will involve an investment…the long-term expense will actually be similar to traditional landscape care or even lower.

Question: What advice do you have for conventional land care professionals who are considering transitioning to organic?

Education is the Key for Homeowners and New Organic Professionals: Unfortunately, there are landscapers, lawn care, and maintenance companies that believe that they can convert to “organics” without a comprehensive educational program (like the NOFA Accreditation Course) which is not the case. Transitioning to an organic based land care program requires the science, experience, knowledge and expertise of the instructors that teach (share) the information, methods and research that is needed to fully understand the organic way. They also demonstrate how to implement the methods, seek additional help and educate your new customer base to understand why, how and when the organic transition will be effective. Becoming an AOLCP (Accredited Organic Land Care Professional) is the best way to gain the knowledge, resources, confidence and expertise to understand organics…and make them work for you and your customers!

Question: How do you consider your business to be part of the solution to environmental degradation and overuse of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides? How do you educate your clientele?
Raised beds, welcome additions to the landscape
Organic Landscaping is Part of the Solution: I have always had an inclination toward less pesticide and chemical use, but it wasn’t until I took the NOFA Accreditation Course in 2005 that I began to feel confident about making the transition to organics, personally and business-wise. I feel I am making a difference in the RI coastal communities I serve…one organic landscape at a time. Sharing information, realistic expectations and a sound plan to convert to organically maintained properties is the key. One area that has become a vital service I offer is organic vegetable garden design and maintenance. Our gardens have become much sought after, beautiful and the most productive gardens around…all with no pesticides and 100% organic.

Organics…the Investment That Helps You, Your Business and the Environment!
There are few educational opportunities that will provide the benefits that the NOFA Accreditation Course will…for your future life, business opportunities and the environment. The NOFA Course was the best educational course I ever have taken…and it continues to supply innumerable benefits 11 years later!

Please feel free to contact me to discuss the course, my organic business or anything related to transitioning from traditional to organic landscaping!
Frank Crandall   401-742-7619 cell