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Consider:

Her goal is to pioneer the idea of gardening in small or urban environments, and to inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food and live sustainably.

The comma is not warranted as and to inspire and educate... is not a main clause.

How could it be made grammatical?

For instance, is it valid to consider her goal (goals?) to consist of a list of two items:

  1. pioneer the idea of gardening in small or urban environments

  2. inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food and live sustainably.

It would then instead be (removing the comma and the second to):

Her goal is to pioneer the idea of gardening in small or urban environments and inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food and live sustainably.

Alternatively, considering the last part as a third item, it would be (using a serial comma):

Her goal is to pioneer the idea of gardening in small or urban environments, inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food, and live sustainably.

Source.

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The title could be more... inspired! –  Peter Mortensen Jan 3 '13 at 11:11
    
Feel free to edit if I have made some incorrect statements in the question. –  Peter Mortensen Jan 3 '13 at 11:13
    
The last example indicates that one of her goals is for her to live sustainably, not to inspire others to do so as is implied in the first example. –  Andrew Leach Jan 3 '13 at 11:14
    
@Andrew Leach: yes, that would probably change the meaning, given the context. –  Peter Mortensen Jan 3 '13 at 11:21
    
The comma before "and to inspire" is purely optional: The following string doesn't have to be a main clause. All that's required to add the comma is that it separate a long sentence (30 words) into two distinct parts. Say it out loud. If there's a pause before that conjoined string, as there is when I say it, then the comma is absolutely warranted, because one function of the comma is to indicate a pause. –  user21497 Jan 3 '13 at 11:43
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2 Answers 2

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The problem here is not the comma, which may with propriety be deployed either rhetorically or structurally; it's the subject, which sorts awkwardly with what follows.

Andrew Leach points out the syntactic problem: a single goal is named, but multiple goals are defined. This is not necessarily improper (ungrammatical); but it confuses readers and deprives them of the solid syntactic footing which would help them their way through this long sentence.

The semantic problem is the unusual use of to pioneer as a goal: pioneer implies inception, goal implies perfection. Again, this is not improper, just confusing.

I suspect the authors conceive the goal here, loosely, as a progressive process, with the earlier activities leading to the later. If that is the case, it might have been expressed more clearly in any of these ways:

Her goal is to pioneer the idea of gardening in small or urban environments, and thereby to inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food and live sustainably.

Her goal in pioneering the idea of gardening in small or urban environments is to inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food and live sustainably.

She has pioneeered the idea of gardening in small or urban environments, with the goal of inspiring and educating people everywhere to grow their own organic food and live sustainably.

I myself would replace educating with teaching in any version, because the construction educating people to grow &c strikes my ear as unidiomatic; but that's not a point relevant to this discussion.

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If there were three goals in the list,

  1. to pioneer an idea,
  2. to inspire and educate,
  3. to learn to ride a bicycle,

then it would be possible to use to and commas:

Her goal is to pioneer the idea of gardening in small or urban environments, to inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food, and to ride a bike.

It could be better to make clear that more than one goal is listed, and use Her goals are...

The last comma is the so-called "Oxford comma" which can appear before the last and or might be omitted. Here, it seems to be better left in.

There are only two goals in your first statement:

Her goal is to pioneer the idea of gardening in small or urban environments, and to inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food and live sustainably.

The comma and the word to help enumerate the goals (by adding another one on to the one listed as "her goal"). This is particularly important as there is an additional and later in the sentence which simply expands the last goal, not the list itself.

If you were to use Her goals, then I would remove the comma, but that could create a problem with the last and. Using to helps avoid that ambiguity.

Her goals are to pioneer the idea of gardening in small or urban environments and to inspire and educate people everywhere to grow their own organic food and live sustainably.

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