Saturday, October 24, 2009

GenY and gardening

Recently, on Garden Rant there have been a couple of guest posts on GenerationY (those born between 1977 and 1986) and how they relate to gardening. I don't believe that everyone in this generation fits the stereotypes of GenY, but overall I think it is possibly a useful exercise to look at generations as a whole.

GenY has been described as "a schizophrenic generation that is simultaneously self-absorbed yet philanthropic, craves information and connectedness, but seeks out only self-referential sources, is materialistic, impatient and in search of instant gratification yet feels a deep and genuine connection to the planet." Again, this is certainly not accurate for everyone, in my opinion.

Isabel Hardman of Fennel and Fern describes her gardening life as a GenY-er and how she feels left out of the current gardening scene. She even believes that maybe she's not welcome there.

I, too, am a GenY-er, apparently. I don't really feel left out of the gardening scene...but that's because I've never been afraid to create my own scene. (For better or worse!) Most of the time, the older generations have been encouraging to me and my vegetable pursuits. My neighbor, who is 81, has given me several cuttings from her garden and a jar of her homemade jam. My other neighbor, who is at least 2 decades older than me, actually asks me questions about what to do regarding problems in his vegetable beds. But not always are my interactions so lovely. I can attest to the occasional discouragement from the "chemical generation". Some of the older folks don't even know what organic means. They seem to believe it is some "new fangled" hippy thing. When really...it's old as dirt - literally. There's a generation gap here, to be sure.

5 comments:

Melinda said...

This is very true. I am also a Gen Y gardener and find that some older friends enjoy sharing gardening tips with me whilst others are skeptical that I could grow anything!
Whilst I think there is a definitive difference between generations, it is difficult to describe these differences without being reductive. At times it seems more like a 'feeling' that we are different!

Daphne said...

I always think that gardening transcends the generations. If you are passionate about gardening you can talk to someone who is 80 or 20 about it and there is no gap. But maybe not. Technology and our culture make some huge generation gaps, but gardening seems to go on the same way it has for ages (except for those nasty pesticide issues).

Autumn Belle said...

There are several articles in our local news about Gen Y here too. I think Gen Y people likes organic and more environmental concious.

Stefaneener said...

I'm sure that on a demographic level there are generalizations that can be made, but it has to vary by region, etc. My father in law thinks I should use more chemicals, but he's a chemist. . . out here, no one sprays stuff and I'm an outlier for using Roundup on my most tenacious weed.

I started gardening without any outside pressure -- it was all an inner thing. I guess it never occurred to me to think where I fit on the spectrum. I'm just convinced that most people who grow a little of their own food are happier than those who don't.

Jackie said...

Melinda, I agree that an exercise like this is reductive...but there may be something to that "feeling"...

Daphne, I think you're right that gardening can transcend generations, but there always seems to be some sort of gap, as well.

Autumn Belle, you know, it does seem that the younger generations are more pro-organic that the older ones...

Stefani, right on! I don't recall knowing an unhappy gardener...