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Julie Cook Kitchener July 7, 2020 18:16 pm

Hi all,

I have heard from a few different sources that many people are turning to gardening and other outdoor activities to help them cope during the pandemic. For anyone who works at the municipal level who is looking to engage city residents at this time, you might consider creating a video series, just as the Canadian environmental non-profit Evergreen has done. They feature Isaac Crosby, an Ojibwa/Black urban agriculturalist who shares ideas on growing container gardens, planting layered vegetable gardens, harvesting rain water, using medicinal plants, etc. The activities are easy, not too lengthy, and the items he uses are easy to find at home or local garden centres.

This reminds me of a commonly used theory in social marketing called Social Cognitive Theory. One of the key principles of this theory is that people need to believe that they are competent and capable to engage in a task before they will do it. The concept is called "self-efficacy". If people's sense of self-efficacy (or, personal effectiveness) is low, they will be much less likely to engage in a behaviour than if it is high (French & Gordon, 2015). This dovetails with the community-based social marketing framework, whereby as practitioners we find out what barriers exist for people to take action and then do our best to remove those barriers.

Here's the link to the videos, where Isaac helps people feel more confident to engage in various gardening activities. Enjoy! 


French, J. & Gordon, R. (2015). Strategic social marketing. London: Sage Publications.