Gen Y Americans want more garden food

Generation Y Americans are growing more food in their gardens, including tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

According to the National Gardening Association's research director, Bruce Butterfield, there was a 28 percent increase in food gardening among 18- to 34-year-olds since 2008.

The number of Gen Yers accounted for 21 percent, or 7.6 million, of the 36 million households growing their own food in 2008, but by 2009, the number of 18- to 34-year-olds growing food increased to 9.8 million households.

In an informal survey by Garden Supply, an employee-owned online and catalog retailer, at last year's Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, more than 90 percent of Gen Yers said they were enthusiastic gardeners. The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a four-day, multi-stage camping festival held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn., every June.

The young food gardeners said their favorite plants mirrored the country's backyard garden favorites — tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans and a variety of herbs. Their top reasons to garden included wanting fresh, inexpensive local food and helping the environment, according to the survey data. The majority of the 10 percent who didn't garden said it was because of a lack of space.

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