Home Garden Conference: how to reach the next generations?
‘Today’s youth, tomorrow’s future’ was chosen as central theme to this year’s Home Garden Conference that took place on 27-28 September in the Enkhuizen area. Referring to both the future consumers of our products and the employees of our industry, this year’s event focused on how to convince youngsters to love plants ánd to consider a career in horticulture. Approx. 75 international professionals attended the event.
The future generations love green!
Young children are very much open to seed, plants and gardening in general. Chris Collins, U.K. gardening broadcaster, showed us how he successfully familiarises British school children with growing their own vegetables. Together with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, this experience might turn them into hobby gardeners themselves when grown up. Scott Mozingo, Business Development Manager at Burpee U.S., told us that youngsters love plants and greenery in general. As social buying is becoming increasingly important for millennials, creating a gardening tribe or community on Facebook and Instagram will help companies to keep in touch with this generation. In addition to the consumers of tomorrow, the conference also looked at future employees. Erwin Cardol, former manager of Seed Valley, explained how this initiative helps to stimulate local youth to start a career in horticulture. With targeted communication campaigns and youth initiation programmes, Seed Valley considerably contributed to increasing the enrolment of students in Plant Studies at Wageningen University.
Seed package range at Sluis Garden
Enkhuizen, cradle of the seed industry
In addition, the programme included a whistle-stop tour to four locations in the Enkhuizen area related to home gardening. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, ABZ Seed specialises in breeding strawberries from seed. Director Gé Bentvelsen gave a short overview of the company’s history and showed the latest breeding successes in the show garden. Sluis Garden showed its three different seed package filling machines and displayed its wide flower and vegetable seed package assortment. At this location, Prudac also offered a tasting of its latest tomato and pepper varieties. PanAmerican Seed had laid out the current Fleuroselect trial which tests new breeding versus existing varieties in the market. Successful varieties achieve either Gold Medal or Approved Novelty status. Finally, the tour also stopped at the brand new Sow to Grow Experience, a local initiative honouring the history and current activity scope of ornamental breeding.
ABZ owner Gé Bentvelsen and part of the delegates in the ABZ show garden.