Friday, April 17, 2009

Why people garden

By Mark

Yesterday we attended the first of two Gardening 101 class (the next is on April 21 @ Swindler & Sons) hosted by Phil Swindler (Swindler & Sons), Monty Anderson (Wilmington College) and Tony Nye (Clinton County Extension) had more then 30 people signed up for each class. Its pretty exciting to hear from someone like Phil--who has been in the gardening business his whole life--that there is a new energy building around gardening in Clinton County.

And as Taylor mentioned, gardening is growing nationwide. A recent report from the National Gardening Association found that the number of households planning on growing their own food has increased by 7 million over 2008, an astounding 19% increase.

Without a doubt, saving money is a great reason to garden. The same report found that the average American garden (600 sq ft)–when well maintained–will yield $600 worth of produce on a $70 investment. So while it is no surprise that we are seeing a bump in gardening in corresponding with the economic recession, it may not be as correlated as we think. In fact, only about a third of respondents in the survey said they were motivated to garden because of the recession.

The numbers actually suggest a deeper seeded shift in the way people are looking at the food system. The main reasons given for gardening were:

  • 58% – better-tasting food
  • 54% – save money on food bills
  • 51% – better quality food
  • 48% – grow food they know is safe

Looking at these numbers it, appears that gardening may not just be a trend, but may be part of a shift in the people are approaching their relationship to food.

At ECC, we have yet to find any practice that teaches us more lessons about sustainability than gardening. We often find ourselves marveling at all of the important things gardening produces in our lives beyond food and savings: it gives us a reason to spend time outside, it provides time for contemplation, it forces us to appreciate the luxury of having easily accessible food, it keeps us “rooted” in our home and community, it stimulates our senses and our intellects, it helps us understand how we fit into a larger system.

What do you find gardening teaches you about sustainability?


  © Blogger template 'LonelyTree' by 2008

Back to TOP