Shout-Out to Today’s Gardeners – The Young and the Urban


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Yes, we've ranted about the image in the media of "gardener" as someone who's frankly, old, with all the cultural baggage we associate with age, so I won't go there.  But the demographics ARE changing, and one DC Master Gardener/Urban Gardener/community garden organizer brought that point home to me recently.

She's Mandie Yanasak, the brunette in the center of the team photo above.  I've posted
about Mandie before,
after she was profiled in the Washington Post, and she might just epitomize the kind of passionate new gardeners we're seeing lately.  I knew that by day she's a union organizer and this weekend I found out she has an alternative identify on the weekends – as roller derby player "Lucy Arson", number 51 on the DC DemonCats.  What else was new to me?  That there even ARE DC Roller Girls – in real life, not just movies, or in other parts of the country. 

DC Urban Gardeners
Clockwise from upper left:  Kaifa Anderson-Hall, Chris Turse, Katie Rehwaldt, Liz Falk, Bea Trickett and Vinnie Bevivino.

And outing Mandie as a DemonCat gives me the opportunity to shower a bit of praise of a bunch of other DC gardeners, young people who are having a big impact here without the kind of media attention being lavished on the White House Garden. Here are just a few of them and what they're up to.

Anything Missing?
And they all seem to be partners in Field to
Fork Network
, "dozens of organizations working
in Washington, DC to foster regional change in how we approach our food."  That's great – really! – but I detect a possible gap in what's happening in urban gardening – attention to growing ornamentals. There are all sorts of environmental groups advocating wildlife gardening – and wildlife gardening only – but not much push to educate the public about pesticides, or about how lawn fertilizers are killing the Chesapeake Bay.  Or on a more upbeat note, directing wannabe-gardeners to gorgeous plants that are pretty near sustainable.

Actually, those subversive guerrillas might be my soulmates.  "As a group, we operate purely for the love of
nature and a desire to beautify our beloved city."  They're about converting land to gardens of all types.