Say the phrase “organic gardener” and people used to think of hippies and health nuts from the 1960s and 70s, but today’s organic gardener is so far removed from that outdated idea. Far from being seen as an outside or fringe activity, organic gardening is quickly becoming a lifestyle that appeals to more and more people — and to people of all ages.
So what’s the profile of an organic gardener? While those who are interested in and committed to organic gardening span both genders, all ages and generations, they have some very distinct common interests that they share:
1. A search for connection. In recent years, we’ve become aware of how little we know about where our food actually comes from. How is it grown? Where is it grown? What is healthy? It seems that as people become more knowledgeable about where their food comes from and what’s in it, they have developed a stronger desire to be more immediately connected to their food – leading to more organic home gardens.
2. A desire for health. From people with disease and illness to families with children struggling with allergies, organic gardeners seek to create the healthiest environments they can. Growing healthy food and having landscape plants free of pesticides and chemicals is one way they are addressing this.
3. A desire for control. There is a strong sense that our food is coming from mysterious sources that we’re not sure we can trust, from vegetables sprayed with pesticides to eggs from commercial hatcheries to a wide range of edibles with genetics that have been tampered with. Rather than roll the dice, organic gardeners are taking control and growing their own to eliminate doubt.
4. A need to save money. There is no doubt that shopping for organic produce at the grocery store comes with some sticker shock, so gardeners find ways to grow their own instead. And with ornamental, non-edible plants, using organic methods saves money in the long run by cutting out costly pesticides and herbicides.
5. A value of safety. From their bodies to their children and communities, organic gardeners seek to create layers of safety, looking to make the world a better place. It’s a value of protecting wildlife, health, water sources and the greater environment — and cultivating respect for the world around them.