Message from NGA President, Michael Metallo

This year's National Garden Month? 2005 celebration is particularly exciting for the National Gardening Association (NGA) because it represents the culmination of a 30 year mission to bring public awareness to the benefits of home, school, and community gardening. Our theme this year is Give a Garden? - Add Beauty To Life, which embodies our core message that plants and their many "gifts" can change our lives.

Along with our National Garden Month? nonprofit partners and sponsors, the National Gardening Association seeks enliven, invigorate, renew and sustain the essential connection between people, plants, and the environment. Give a Garden? - Add Beauty to Life is not just a simple platitude; it is a call to action that recognizes those elements in life that are fundamental and vital to well being.

The Give a Garden? campaign speaks to the public on many levels. There is the simple and therapeutic pleasure of working in one's own garden and sharing one's bounty with a friend, neighbor, or someone in need. There is the basic role gardening plays in providing nutritious food -- the very basis of a healthy life. And there is our ability to pass this message on for the benefit of future generations. Plants and gardening reach back to the fundamentals of life.

Our afternoon conference speaker, Tom Leo Ogren, author of Safe Sex in the Garden and Allergy-Free Gardening, will share his perspective and experience of the benefits of gardening and the people-plant connection.

Our evening Gala keynote speaker, Delaine Easton, Superintendent of schools for California and founder of A Garden in Every School, will recount her experiences in youth education and the power that educational gardening programs have to reach and enlive minds. Her story exemplifies the value of school gardening to every youngster in America.

Capping off this year's press conference event is our first annual panel discussion featuring green industry experts. The forum will address the Give a Garden? theme from the perspective of those driving industry events and those familiar with the key factors affecting the green industry. We will hear from leading corporations, nonprofits, trade organizations, and environmental groups about the future of gardening, followed by a question and answer session on gardening trends and opportunities.

Together with ten other nonprofit partnering organizations and select green industry trade groups, this year's event represents a compelling storyline -- how the gift of gardening impacts all aspects of our lives. The message of Give a Garden? - Add Beauty to Life will breathe meaning into and focus upon programs in plant-based education, health and wellness, environmental stewardship, community development, and home gardening, the five key pillars of the National Gardening Association.

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