Gardens are a form of autobiography. -Sydney Eddison

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

GenX & GenY, Cultivating a Greener Future

I could sit and conjecture all day about why I'm the only person my age I know that loves, or even has a remote interest in gardening. As a recently graduated college student who has kept her passion amongst all the other skeletons in the closet, I have come to realize when it comes down to it, it's the reaction that I get from my friends after I tell them that I spent my Saturday driving an hour and a half to a new nursery-- like I have just admitted to something really guilty. Gardening is just not cool.

Gardening has come a long way over this past year thanks to the intense Topsy Turvy infomercials and the positive press surrounding the Obama's veggie patch. I would go so far to say it's even quite trendy now to have a couple of tomato plants on your balcony.

Despite this good publicity, the stereotype is that any routine garden centre is filled older women wearing lots of knits or pachouli burning "granolas" who also wear a lot of knits when a well-meaning GenY or X walks in, they are going to be completely overwhelmed. Even when I walk into a gardening center, an orchid society meeting, or a seminar I am most always the youngest person, and I always feel a bit uncomfortable. Nowhere are there positive, marketed images of young middle-of-the-road people engaging in earth moving, seed sowing, tree planting etc. HGTV just isn't targeted for a young audience, neither are any of the advertising campaigns generated by the big name-brands, or Big Boxes.

I hope that as I continue this blog and continue to go to work everyday and sell dirt, fertilizer, veggies, cacti, and everything else that is good and leafy I set a positive example for a few people. My peers need to know that it's okay to check out a community garden, or hook up some grow lights so you'll never need to use another dried herb again (the later is my preferred method, because when I come home late from work, sunshine is available with the flip of a switch).

Obviously, regardless of my friends and peers, I love gardening. My friends tolerate my chlorophyll generated eccentricities because they can attribute my blind devotion to my job, and my employer loves the fact that I spend my time off engaged in reconnaissance missions. The gardening world expects me to be a soccer mom, and the rest of the world expects me to have a garden full of weeds (no pun intended) with no interest in the field. I don’t fit in, and neither do my fellow GenYs and Xs. I just hope that gardening doesn't get lost somewhere down the road, succumbed finally to pre-cooked cellophane wrapped convenience.

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