Speed dating with a dirty twist

Local singles embrace organic alternative to traditional speed dating

Photo provided by Erica Young.

In an era where Tinder and online dating sites are the norm, a more natural approach to dating is beginning to sprout up in Winnipeg. “Weed Dating” is hitting the scene, and there are plenty of singles looking to grow some love.

The Winnipeg event is hosted by avid gardener and advocate for love Erica Young, and is set to take place on Saturday Aug. 15 from 2-5 p.m. on a small farm near Beausejour. It’s not just an event for farmers; in fact, no gardening experience is necessary to attend. Young hopes that the event will appeal to a wide variety of people.

“There is no formula to the organization of meeting people,” Young said. “Everyone will meet everyone, even people they might not be attracted to. There will be a range of ages, genders, and orientation. It will be a fun way to bring strangers together.”

Following the idea of traditional speed dating, Weed Dating assigns one group a plot of land, and has the other group rotate every few minutes. As each pair works to rid the field of weeds, they have the opportunity to connect and get to know each other like any regular date.

“A garden is a lovely place. It’s a mix of beauty and practicality,” said Young. “Great conversations happen in the garden when pulling weeds, and there is less pressure to chat for a long time.”

This twist on the traditional promises to be a great way to meet someone with a green thumb.

Weed Dating appears to be the most recent in a stream of unconventional dating events popping up throughout Winnipeg. It comes just months after the wildly popular Safeway Singles Night which saw hundreds of singles flocking to the Osborne Village Safeway in hopes of picking up more than just some fresh produce. If Weed Dating is anything like its grocery-shopping counterpart, it is sure to be a big hit.

Young also sees the benefit in having an activity to do while meeting new people; she suggests that having something to do with your hands can be a welcome distraction.

“It’s [also] nice to be in a setting where it’s known that everyone is interested in dating, it makes it less awkward.”

The success of other Weed Dating events across the country is what inspired Young to bring the event to a farm a little closer to home.

A quick Google search for “weed dating” shares more about dating someone with the same passion for drugs than it does of those who have an affinity for gardening, but some refinements result in a rather interesting history of many successful “weeding” events.

This unique dating concept began on a farm in Vermont, and quickly spread across state lines to Ohio and Wisconsin. Weeders enjoy the opportunity to spend time outdoors, meet new people, and get their hands dirty, regardless of the dating outcome. However, the concept of meeting someone with similar interests while engaging in a low-pressure activity has proved for many weeders to be the way to grow a budding romance.

Those interested in going Weed Dating are asked to RSVP to the Facebook event page, and are encouraged to “get some dirt under your nails. Meet new friends, and maybe even your new sweet pea.”