Hi James, I am an old millennial. I was born in 1982, which I think is right on the cusp. I see very few millennials who are into farming, but that could just be the crowd I run with. I don't know anyone in my age group who is interested in agriculture, let alone permaculture, like I am. I meet people who like to talk about "chemicals in food is bad" and buy organic, which is a great start, but I don't know a single person who has heard of the soil food web (that I know of at least). There was a guy a year behind me in high school who now runs a successful no-till market garden and has a YouTube channel and podcast and all that jazz. He is the only person I am aware of from our age group living that kind of lifestyle. He says the biggest barrier that keeps young people from entering into an agrarian lifestyle is the cost of land. I would agree with that, but I also think that the lack of exposure to food production plays a huge role in keeping millennials from farming as well. You don't know what you don't know, right? If you've never seen a seed planted in the ground, if you have only seen food that appears in a shiny plastic container on a grocery store shelf, how would it ever occur to you to start growing food? And if you did decide to plant a little garden, surely you would first till it and then douse it with as much chemical fertilizer as you can because more equals better, and cover crops don't exactly pay for advertisements. I can't really blame millennials for their lack of participation in growing food, especially in a permaculture style way, if they have never been exposed to it.
I, personally, am still trying to escape the rat race and get into a permaculture based lifestyle. I went to college and grad school right after high school and have worked professional office jobs as a researcher and a college professor since then. This past year I couldn't take teaching anymore for a variety of reasons (I will not launch into a rant about the current state of education), so I went back to a research-based office job, even though all I have ever wanted to do is farm. I just assumed that farming was never an option for me. I felt huge pressure from many directions to "prove myself" in society through education and in holding a professional job, all of which occurred in an urban environment. I don't regret all that I've learned and the experiences that I've had, but after 12 years of being a "professional," I don't really give a shit anymore about society's opinion of me. I am putting a concrete plan in place to leave my full-time office job, transition to teaching part-time online for a reliable (albeit much smaller) income, and throw myself into growing as much of my family's food as I can. I live on a 1/3 acre plot in the city but have at least an acre available to me on my parents' property 30 minutes away. Their 10-acre property, by the way, is something I would never be able to afford. That goes back to the earlier point that the cost of land is a huge barrier for people who want to get involved with agriculture.
I have an insatiable desire to learn everything there is to know about the interconnected nature of soil, plants, and wildlife, and to develop skills to restore a biodiverse environment while growing nutrient dense food. My library of books on soil, compost, orchards, nutrition, herbs, etc., grows weekly. My software developer husband (lovingly) calls it my stack of crazy hippy books. To be honest with you, I have no idea where this passion comes from. I grew up in suburbia, although I am only one generation removed from an agrarian lifestyle. My parents both grew up in rural Appalachia growing most of their food, churning their own butter, slaughtering pigs on the kitchen table, etc. Perhaps my limited exposure to that lifestyle through their stories, and the fact that I see that way of life disappearing, is what drives me. I think other millennials are two or three generations removed from that style of living and thus lump it in with fairy tales and a vague notion of "back in the day." In my opinion many millennials have their heart in their right place but lack the tools, knowledge, and access to break away from modern society. They care about the environment, they don't want nasty pesticides on their food, they want workers to earn living wages, they want to buy responsibly sourced products, and they don't want to work for evil corporations. At the same time, they typically don't have any idea of how food is grown AND they like the comfort of a reliable paycheck AND they don't even see an agrarian lifestyle as being a possibility. It's just so foreign to modern culture. That's pure speculation from being a millennial and from my dealings with other millennials, though. Take it with a grain of salt.
Sorry for launching into an essay on millennials as if I am some sort of expert. I am not. I'm glad to see another millennial on here, and I'm happy that you're happy with way things are going in your life on your farm. I consider every story I hear from a young person who's making it in natural style farming to be breath of fresh air, so thank you for making your presence known!