It’s been a quiet couple of couple months in MNN gardening-land given that right now, at least in my part of the world, it’s horrid outside. Unswaddling ourselves from our holiday-gift-Snuggies and venturing outside for a little horticultural hobby-time is probably the last thing many of us want to do. 

Kudos to Organic Gardening, the venerable mag geared towards eco-conscious greenthumbs, for giving readers a reason to look beyond winter and forward to spring in the form of a revamped and relaunched February/March issue.

The new issue of OG that hit newsstands yesterday boasts a bigger, bolder, and dare I say, more sexy, look as it enters its 67th year in print. The relaunch is a somewhat audacious move considering numerous shelter (Domino, Metropolitan Home, etc.), food (Gourmet), and eco-living print mags (Green Guide, Plenty) have all been sent to the gallows over the last couple of years.

The publishers of Organic Gardening, Rodale, are confident that the magazine — keep in mind that OG combines elements of homemaking, food, and eco-living — are confident that the title’s redesign and impressive roster of new contributors paired with growing interest in the “back to basics” organic gardening and food movement will help keep it safe from the print publishing death rattle. It strikes me as a bit backwards to go glossier and bigger in response to a bourgeoning lifestyle that preaches pared-down simplicity but, hey, whatever sells copies.

Says Organic Gardening’s EIC, Ethne Clarke:

Our message is more relevant now than it has ever been — the organic food and gardening movements and allied industries are both experiencing substantial growth. People increasingly believe that treading lightly on our environment is a personal responsibility and are ‘going green’ with gusto. That’s why we’ve seized the opportunity to give the magazine a major makeover, dressing it for its role as the inspirational, confident voice of contemporary organic living so that it will best serve our growing readership as they look for new ways to live lightly from the ground up.
In addition to a physically different look — heavier paper stock, larger size (not the most planet-friendly changes, however eye-catching) new layout/design — Organic Gardening is now published bi-monthly and has tweaked its editorial content to include more coverage of food and cooking in addition to strictly gardening stories. And some encouraging news: subscription base rates for the magazine are up an overall 27 percent from 2007 and ad pages are up as well. 

Have you checked out the new issue of Organic Gardening? How do you like it compared to past issues? Do you think Rodale's radical relaunch will help OG persevere through these dire days for print publishing? 

Photo: Organic Magazine/Rodale

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Organic Gardening gets a spring makeover
As shelter mags are shuttered left and right, a 67-year-old title for eco-gardeners, Organic Gardening, is relaunched with a fresh new look.