Wanted: One word to make gardening cool and sexy
One of TV’s green thumbs needs help selling gardening to the Millennial generation.
Joe Lamp’l, host and developer of Growing a Greener World on PBS, seeks a horticultural equivalent of “foodie.” This special word will make plants and gardening seem as “sexy, cool and hip” as foodie does the food industry. Plantie, gardenie just don’t work for him. Start thinking and send him your suggestions. Tell us, too.
Getting the garden industry to care about Millennials was the thrust of his keynote program, “Can You Hear Me Now? Voice Beyond the Greenhouse,” at the recent OFA Short Course in Columbus. The annual event is one of America’s largest horticultural industry gatherings.
Millennials, which he defines as 17- to 34-year-olds, are second only to baby boomers in numbers and potential buying power, an obvious draw for the breeders, retailers and growers represented of OFA, the Association of Horticulture Professionals.
Gardening should be a natural for Millennials. He said they’re into cooking, volunteering, sustainability and self-expression. They’re even into slowing way down in their off hours. That’s why cooking appeals to them.
Trouble is, they’re burdened with educational loan debt and unlikely to stake a claim of suburban turf anytime soon. So garden centers, growers and breeders need to develop a tiered approach to help them first grow things on front stoops and balconies and then decks and yards. Plus, the industry should help them enjoy the “journey” of gardening rather than just selling them something.
His favorite garden center, for instance, offers cooking and gardening classes, plus help with composting and rain harvesting. A visit to the Greener World website shows Lamp’l doesn’t just preach social networking and a multimedia approach to telling the gardening story.
No wonder. This group is seriously into their cell phones and all the Internet wonders of the world those devices summon with a touch: entertainment, news, games, maps, restaurant reviews, apps, socializing and paying those college loans. Sometimes they even make phone calls.
Those of us already savoring a gardening lifestyle know the real pleasure lies as much in the journey of nurturing as in having an appealing landscape. It’s too good to keep to ourselves. But how do we get the word out?
As for that special word, send it to:
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