Every now and then I read – for the hundredth time – an angst ridden article about how the nursery trade can attract younger gardeners. How to bring them to the marketing fold, teaching them the way to life, love and happiness in a beatified world.
And I want to spew my breakfast.
Herein are the things I tell myself when I start thinking about how to attract young people to my writing.
1) All previous attempts do so are pretty lame. (Do you remember the bulb video series? If so, I need say no more. If not – you should be very, very happy.)
Simply stated – do not make attempts to include young people. They’ll find you when they’re ready.
2) When I was 18, the only biology I cared a damn about was female. The only botany the barley that came bottled. Have things changed?
3) There will always be outliers who are interested in gardening from day one. Treasure them but recognize they are outliers and do not make a market nor a marketing ideal.
4) Young people are more aware of the environment than we ever were. But they also recognize how screwed up we’ve allowed it to become.
5) Be authentic. When you see 10,000 ads a week, (pretty close to the average now) nothing turns a person off faster than “being sold”. A leading contender for this is an adult selling shit. Time out! Walk the walk, talk the talk.
6) If it takes three minutes to make a point, I either don’t understand the question or the answer.
7) Set standards of integrity and ethics. It shows. It broadcasts inclusion in an age of crass.
8) Don’t weaken in the face of temptation.
9) When they come, and they will, simply be ready to answer their questions honestly and directly. Make them succeed and make them feel good about doing it but do not reduce the challenge to mindless plastic gardens of uniformity.
10) And the last point, forget trying to attract young people and forget all the jeezly angst around that topic. Work with interested people no matter their age. When “young people” are ready, be there if they want to talk.
11) Understand that marketers won’t take that advice but will continue to work to attract “young gardeners”. Ignore them.