Editorial: Don't shoot the messenger

Please, don’t shoot the messenger
Mike Jiggens
May 07, 2019
By
May 10, 2019 – Consider this editorial a pre-emptive strike for a story that appears in this issue. The story in question is a profile of a lawn care company in St. Catharines, Ont. that has adopted a no-fertilizer, no-pesticide approach toward achieving healthy lawns for its customers.

The strategy adopted by Michael Stangl of Stangl’s Enviro Lawn Care bucks the trend of conventional lawn care in terms of the delivery. Nevertheless, it’s still lawn care, albeit through different means.

Before fertilizer and pest control product manufacturers reach out to me – perhaps a little heatedly – allow me to say one thing, “Please don’t shoot the messenger.”

I don’t necessarily endorse this form of lawn care or any other approach, for that matter. We are simply presenting a profile of a company that prefers to do things another way, and I have no problem with that. I believe that if a lawn care professional or golf course superintendent or sports turf manager has found a way to manage turf in a manner that sets himself apart from the crowd, and is able to achieve favourable results, then he, too, deserves his 15 minutes.

Readers can form their own opinions upon reading the story. One important point to consider is that our readers are not the customers or potential customers of the lawn care profession. They are the lawn care professionals themselves who are likely interested in knowing how others in their industry go about their work.

Reporting on a story of this nature is no different, really, than occasionally writing about artificial turf and its place in the municipal sports turf market. Most sports turf managers and competitive athletes likely still prefer a natural grass surface, but synthetic playing fields have their place, too.

There was a time many, many years ago when I considered writing about artificial turf to be almost blasphemous, but the subject matter has managed to fit in with what we do and there is an acceptance for it today.

Not every lawn care company is obliged to do things “by the book.” This fellow is essentially writing his own book, and it’s an approach I figure our readers might find interesting, even if they have no intention of ever following suit.

Sustainability is a big buzzword in the industry today. Stangl’s approach to lawn care is a move in that direction.

While writing the story, I felt with each successive paragraph that the fertilizer and pesticide companies out there might have a bone to pick with me, but I kept assuring myself that I was only doing my job. Once again, I am but the messenger.

I was careful when writing the story to attribute all science-related statements to the storyteller so that they don’t appear to come off as my own. In this business, we call it “covering your ass.”

I just wanted to use this forum to get something off my chest for fear that I might be generating some not-so-nice feedback, perhaps aimed directly at me.

Having accomplished that, it gives me great pleasure to share with our readers the selected recipients of Turf & Rec’s second annual Top 10 Under 40 promotion. A profile of the deserving young movers and shakers within the industry can be read in this issue. This year we have representation from coast to coast, with recipients from British Columbia to Nova Scotia being honoured. The full gamut of the industry is also represented, including the golf, landscaping, sports turf and supplier sectors. It’s also encouraging to note that women are making more headway in the industry. This year we have two female recipients of the honour.

A big thank you goes out to those who took the time to nominate these worthy young individuals who have yet to celebrate their 40th birthdays.

There is a lot of young Canadian talent out there who will have another year to further their forward thinking and leadership capabilities.

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