The title may catch some people off guard, considering the patience required to garden. Millennials, however, are proving to be more deliberate with their time than initially thought. And not for nothing, their intentions are shaping out to influence the greater good.
Millennials, roughly between the ages of 21 and 34, have recently overtaken the baby boomer generation as the largest portion of the workforce. Five million of the 6 million people who took up gardening in 2015 were millennials, according to the 2016 National Gardening Survey. The buying habits between the two generations are quite different, but the gardening trend seems to be intensifying.
“Some millennials did not grow up gardening with their parents, so they aren’t necessarily gardening as a hobby or to beautify their homes like previous generations did,” says Michelle Simakis, editor of Garden Center magazine. “They are planting vegetables and fruit because they want to know where their food comes from and are interested in cooking with produce that’s better than what they can find in stores.”
There is a host of reasons driving so many millennials into gardening, but let’s have a look at two of the main ones:
1. Gardening is Eco-friendly
The millennial generation is more aware and sensitive to their environmental conditions. They have been bombarded with news about water pollution, chemical fertilizers, animals injected with hormones, and other issues related to the environment’s degradation. Millennials also know that more has to be done to combat these problems.
A Nielsen study found millennials care about environmental issues and find ways to personally support a healthy environment. Gardening provides this young, curious group with the power, control, and patience to supply their own produce.
Think the impact is only limited to the kitchen? Think again. This is a simple solution to attack a multi-faceted problem. Growing your own produce cuts “food miles”, the distance an item travels between the producer and consumer, by a drastic rate. Millennials can also bypass the chemicals, waxes, and other unsafe materials used in most of today’s mass produce. So that is air pollution, food safety, and water control, all in one.
2. A Conduit for Better Nutrition
Have you noticed that some food labels are starting to get shorter, and MUCH easier to read? This is part of the ‘clean label’ movement, and it is another thing you can thank millennials for. How does this relate to gardening? Simple.
As mentioned earlier, millennials want to know what they are eating. If your label is packed with difficult-to-pronounce ingredients, then they are not interested.
Gardening lets millennials trust what they are eating, and that is huge in today’s food industry. Whether it is outdoors or indoors, there are traditional and breakthrough gardening solutions that allow millennials to grow a lot of food in a small space. Services like Seedsheet, a Blue Apron-like startup for agriculture, are establishing new spaces for millennials to become acquainted with gardening.
The focus on nutrition and its link to wellness is creating more opportunities for everyone to develop a bit of a green thumb. Despite the common criticism of their addiction to the digital world, millennials are paving the way to a greener and more nutritious environment.