NZ Gardener magazine inspires urban interest

Published: Fri 30 Oct 2009 01:54 PM
NZ Gardener magazine inspires growing urban interest
Gardening is becoming the hot new leisure activity for young, middle-class city dwellers, who are increasingly turning to NZ Gardener magazine to guide their growing interest.
The latest Nielsen National Readership Survey shows a continuing dream run for the Fairfax magazine, with readership increasing by 22.4%, or 54,000, in the year to September. NZ Gardener is now read by 312,000 New Zealanders aged 10 or older1.
Since Lynda Hallinan took over as editor of the monthly magazine in June 2006, readership has grown a staggering 58.3%2.
This growth has led to a significant change in the demographics of NZ Gardener’s readers. In the past two years new readers have been skewed towards younger age groups and the magazine now attracts more urban gardeners in the major metropolitan centres of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton. In the past two years readership of NZ Gardener in Auckland has almost doubled, growing by a staggering 91%.
As well, new readers earn higher household incomes and have more disposable income.
NZ Gardener editor Lynda Hallinan said the growth in readership was part of a genuine social shift the magazine started noticing two years ago, as people became more concerned with what was in their food and where it came from.
“And one way to know exactly what is in your food is to grow it yourself, which Kiwis are increasingly choosing to do, whether it’s in traditional veggie gardens or in containers on their deck,” she said.
This trend had accelerated over the past 12 months, with many New Zealanders choosing to grow their own veggies as a way of cutting costs during tougher economic times.
“Anecdotally, we have heard from garden and seed suppliers that their sales are increasing significantly, and mostly in urban areas,” said Ms Hallinan. “So NZ Gardener is reaching a whole new demographic of garden enthusiasts and providing them with the information they need to really make their interest bloom.”
“Although self-sufficiency and sustainability have become buzzwords in recent years, what we’re seeing is a return to good old-fashioned vegetable gardening. Beginner gardeners are putting in the same sort of big backyard vegetable plots that their grandparents had.
“More and more people are picking up a spade because they want to serve fresh, flavoursome, locally grown, spray-free food to their families. The only way to guarantee that is to grow it yourself.”
Ms Hallinan says school and community gardens are also increasingly popular. In response NZ Gardener magazine has developed a new monthly section with six pages aimed at children.

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