Why Gardening is appealing to the Younger Crowd

By Alex N

So the gardening war is not really as micro as the little UK TV war of The Titch versus Big Don (which 'gardening celebrity' to plump for from our comfy chairs on a Friday Night in British Suburbia?). In fact the majority of the gardening world, wouldn't actually have a clue who these guys are.

In the macro gardening world, there is a much stronger, global war, going on. An uprising against the big supermarkets. A war on importers bringing us unripe fruit and veg. A distrust of the food supply chain - also further fueled in Europe by the unfortunate German beansprout incident - spare a thought for the poor Spanish cucumber growers as well - innocently caught badly in the media crossfire.

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Partly as a result of this disillusionment, there is the beginnings of a tidal wave of the younger generation reclaiming their responsibilities to, and interest in, the planet. They're taking the production of their own food into their own hands, and catching the gardening grow-your-own bug with gusto (or should I say the GYO?!). A softer, more homely instinct is starting to prevail, where people want to nurture their own space, and have a new found respect for horticultural pursuits. Perhaps this is born out of a need to get back to core values, literally back 'down to earth', after the economic difficulties as a result of bloated consumerist societies of the last few decades.

As Rob Sproule (aged 33) puts it very aptly in the online Edmonton Journal, "One of the myths of modern gardening is that young people don’t want to get their hands dirty. As a co-owner of a large greenhouse, I live on the front lines of a rapidly changing gardening world. Young people, often with toddlers or strollers in tow, are getting their hands dirty with enthusiasm and vigour.

They are doing it for different reasons. Some want to be able to grow their own food; some want their children to grow up in the garden; and some just see it as another change to express themselves.  The important thing for me is that young people are starting to return to the soil and their fresh perspectives are redefining Canadian gardening.

The stereotype that deters many young people from gardening is that it’s labour intensive, time-consuming, and involves pushing some kind of plow through long, sun-scorched rows of potatoes and beans.

The truth is that gardening, like anything else, is what we make it, and the next generation of gardeners is making it creative, fulfilling and, most of all, fun."

Alex N

I'm passionate about online learning, and lucky enough to work for Learning with Experts. Most recent course: The Pie Shop with River Cottage's Tom Morrell. Next course: Container Gardening with Chris Beardshaw.

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