Earthbound Artisan’s Social Enterprise Model Promotes People and the Planet
Mar 26, 2017 09:37AM
● By Sheila Julson
When Tim Seifarth formed Earthbound Artisan landscaping company, he aimed to not only run a full-service, ecologically conscious landscaping company, but he sought to fill a void in socially conscious enterprises. His friend Garrett Book, whom he met when the men worked together at a different landscaping company, shared the same goals. Book joined Seifarth this past September, and with a new office on Mulberry Street, in Lancaster, the pair is striving to change the scenery of the landscaping profession.
Seifarth’s interest in landscaping began when he helped care for his family’s yard. He went on to work for landscaping companies during his young adult years, and during that time he developed environment and socially conscious values that he wanted to incorporate into his own company. He opened Earthbound Artisan in January 2014 with a mission to avoid chemicals, incorporate natural and native elements into designs and use manually operated tools whenever possible.
Seifarth is a Landscape Industry Certified Technician through the Professional Land Care Network (PLANET). He is also a certified permaculturist and a certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture.
Book jokes that he was forced into landscaping when he had to help his parents, who were avid gardeners. He says that as a child and preteen, he didn’t like yard work at all. By the time he reached his early teens, he found outdoor gardening tasks peaceful and meditative. “By then I really enjoyed it, but I couldn’t let my parents know that I enjoyed it,” he laughs.
Book went on to earn an associate’s degree in horticulture and landscape design from Pennsylvania College of Technology, in Williamsport. He also holds a Master of Divinity Degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Garrett and Seifarth both have individual strengths that can serve a broad customer base. “Tim has a very creative and imaginative vision, and some clients want that imagination and creativity. With my landscaping background in traditional design, some clients want a hard copy of the design in hand before they sign papers, so there’s some balance there,” Book says.
New for Earthbound Artisan in 2017 is a landscape management program that will use all organic and chemical-free products. They’ve also introduced an organic lawn care program. Earthbound Artisan also offers edible horticulture and domestic agriculture design and installation services.
Seifarth and Book see their partnership as an opportunity to reshape the business, and possibly the industry. Book will employ his Master of Divinity education to promote social enterprise, keeping the business very environmentally based while also highlighting the aspect of caring for humanity.
“We care for the environment, but also the people that inhabit it,” Seifarth says. “Our new business mission is to enact social change while thoughtfully working the earth, and we hope to do that by getting involved in community projects through volunteering with the boroughs or parks, and by pursuing an ethical path to provide employment.” In step with their mission statement, Seifarth and Book are offering some advice for a possible community garden at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, in Lancaster.
“At the end of the day, we don’t have just one bottom line,” Book adds. “It’s not just profit; we’re a business and we want to make a profit, but we’re working off the social enterprise model, which is people, profit and planet. Ultimately, when we make a decision, it’s not based on just, ‘Is this going to make us money?’ but also, ‘Is this going to make us money and be environmentally and socially responsible?’”
Seifarth and Book hope to showcase that it is possible to run a socially responsible, environmentally conscious business and still have a healthy bottom line. “We’re convinced that there is a market for social enterprise,” Book says. “Services from our company might in some way or another cost a little more than the competition if we’re trying to pay a living wage or use organic products—and it’s an uphill battle to convince people there’s a market for it—but all of our clients are choosing to vote with their money. There is a market out there, and if we have competition from another landscape company doing what we’re doing, for the same reasons that we’re going it, we’d really be excited and welcome that.”
Earthbound Artisan is located in Ephrata. For more information, call 717-507-6267 or visit EarthboundArtisan.com.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.