As I stare out my window at the glistening snow-covered landscape today, I can’t help feeling a sense of optimism and hopefulness for the coming year. Not only am I excited for my own pursuits, I’m also eager to see the ideas and hard work of our customers continue to progress. Throughout the nation, there seems to be a shift taking place. More folks are returning to the land and taking an interest in our agrarian roots, whether it’s through gardening, landscaping, hobby farming or larger agricultural projects. Just the other day, an article published by NPR titled “A Younger Generation Sees Greener Pastures in Agriculture” told of the resurgence of gardening and farming among the 20- and 30-something generation. The article concluded by saying how this new generation is making agriculture “cool” again. With this in mind, here’s what I see happening in 2015.
Young People and Agriculture
Small-scale agriculture will continue to attract younger people in 2015. Most of these people will be first generation farmers and come from a college-educated background. Ditching the office cubicle for fresh air and sunshine, their operations will be very niche specific; producing goods like grass-fed beef, organic produce, artisan cheese, raw honey, fresh eggs, craft beer, and much more. I see locally-produced agriculture becoming even more popular in 2015, with farmers markets growing larger. More restaurants, including well-known chains, will jump onboard by sourcing locally-produced items and ingredients. It’s an exciting time to be involved in agriculture.
A New Generation of Gardeners
While backyard farming and small-scale agriculture continue to grow in popularity, so will gardening and landscaping. The new year will see more millennials investing in their outdoor surroundings, but it probably won’t be the same way their parents do it. In 2015, millennials will demand more environmentally friendly landscaping. Pollinator gardening will be a major focus as more people come to understand how much we rely on these animals. Gardening trends will also incorporate more naturalistic approaches, and gardening styles will take on an informal look. Native plants and water-wise landscaping will continue to grow, especially in California where drought is likely to continue into the new year. In 2015, I see millennials and other generations coming together to incorporate environmental consciousness, beauty, and functionality into some of the most remarkable landscapes our country has ever seen.