In the 13-year history of Garden Bloggers Fling, we’ve never had to cancel — until this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Madison Fling planning team had already put a lot of work into the event, and we appreciate their willingness to delay and try again next year. Fingers crossed, we’ll be Flinging in Madison next June!
During this forced downtime, the Fling advisory committee has been reflecting on the future of our annual event and our community. We want to ensure that our group better reflects all gardening voices in all their diversity.
From the start we’ve defined ourselves by our shared identity as garden bloggers, people who not only love gardens but love writing about them and being part of an online community. Thirteen years later, while many blogs continue to thrive, for some of us other social media outlets are now our preferred medium for self-publishing about gardening. Our identity as bloggers has become limiting, even a bit antiquated. And we wonder if we’ve unintentionally edged out the participation of those who might not see themselves represented and therefore don’t feel welcome: people of color, younger people, people from all sorts of backgrounds.
We want to change that perception, especially if it’s keeping anyone from thinking the Fling is not for them. And we believe the way to be more inclusive is to be more inclusive.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to open the Fling to gardening Instagrammers, podcasters, and vloggers/YouTubers. Our goal is to make Garden Bloggers Fling more inclusive of diverse voices and more forward-looking in terms of other social media. We have no plans at this time to change our name.
The Fling is still a group for online self-publishers of gardening information, and our guidelines for attending the annual meet-up still apply: your outlet must be public, strongly gardening-focused, and regularly updated. We hope long-time Flingers will join us in welcoming these new voices. And we hope that anyone who is eagerly sharing about gardening via Instagram, vlogging, or podcasting will join our online community. And when in-person meet-ups resume, as they surely will, we look forward to meeting you IRL as well!