The avocado, or avocado toast, became a popular symbol for millennials, particularly as priced out of homeownership, in 2017, and then for the YIMBY movement.
from The Guardian, 15 May 2017:
"An Australian millionaire and real estate mogul has advice for millennials struggling to purchase a home: stop buying avocado toast.
"Tim Gurner, a luxury property developer in Melbourne responsible for over $3.8bn in projects, is facing heat for comments he made on 60 Minutes in Australia, implying that young people can’t afford to buy property because they’re wasting money on fancy toast and overpriced coffee."
"'When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,' he said. 'We’re at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high.'
"He added: 'We are coming into a new reality where … a lot of people won’t own a house in their lifetime. That is just the reality.' Asked if he believes young people will never own a home, he responded: 'Absolutely, when you’re spending $40 a day on smashed avocados and coffees and not working. Of course.'"
It was soon used by YIMBYs, widely and persistently enough to become considered a symbol for YIMBY movement. For example, YIMBY supporters may add the avocado emoji to their Twitter names or bios. Others oppose that usage, though, on grounds that millennial signalling narrows the movement and alienates people.
The Gimme Shelter housing podcast created an Avocado of the Year award, "for the most absurd housing story of 2018."
YIMBYwiki commented: "really confused name for a housing-villain award. It's using a positive symbol for housing, avocado, for a mock award. Normally a negative symbol is used, like Golden Raspberry or Carbuncle Cup."
Use in YIMBY movement
SFYIMBY Best Avocados and Worst Zucchinis of 2017 awards
YIMBY-supported California state Senator Scott Wiener with an avocado pin:
- Levin, Sam T. "Millionaire tells millennials: if you want a house, stop buying avocado toast." ["Australian real estate mogul Tim Gurner advised young people to solve their housing woes by putting their ‘$22 a pop’ toast toward a deposit instead."]. The Guardian, 15 May 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/15/australian-millionaire-millennials-avocado-toast-house.