Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

We told you so: Food, Not Lawns!

Today the Wall Street Journal is reporting on an increasing trend amongst suburban homeowners: growing, instead of buying, food.

As the price of food shoots up with the price of oil, using expensive fuel to get to the expensive store to buy expensive organic foods can be ex…hausting. It’s so much easier to grab a shovel, get some exercise, and grow your own organic food. H. C. Flores, author of Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community, has been advocating it for years as a way to save money, build community, and eat healthier.

Well it seems that the idea is catching on. As the WSJ article reports:

At Al’s Garden Center in Portland, Ore., sales of vegetable plants this season have jumped an unprecedented 43% from a year earlier, and sales of fruit-producing trees and shrubs are up 17%. Sales of flower perennials, on the other hand, are down 16%. It’s much the same story at Williams Nursery, Westfield, N.J., where total sales are down 4.6% even as herb and vegetable-plant sales have risen 16%. And in Austin, Texas, Great Outdoors reports sales of flowers slightly down, while sales of vegetables have risen 20% over last year.

[…]

George Ball, chief executive of seed giant W. Atlee Burpee & Co. in Warminster, Pa., says he thinks the veggie-gardening rage is prompted by more than just food costs. His business has seen more baby boomers “entering their prime gardening years,” he says. Now, this generation has “a lot of time, the rat race is over, a home that is likely to be their last, and kids past puberty,” he says. Burpee’s sales of vegetables and herbs are up about 40% this year, twice last year’s growth rate. Tomatoes, summer squash, onions, cucumbers, peas and beans continue to be top sellers. “We’re running out of things like onions, that you think would never be that hot and raging,” he says.

In West Columbia, S.C., Sarah Rosenbaum ripped up about a quarter of her family’s landscaped yard to install six raised vegetable beds. “You get a pack of seeds for a dollar or two, and you have got a whole bed of organic vegetables for a fraction of what you’d pay at the store. And they taste better.”

Hear! Hear! I’m quite excited to see this trend growing. I’m even more excited receive some fresh organic vegetables from our very own raised bed farmer, Jonathan—or JTE as they call him around these (digital) parts.

For the whole WSJ article, click here.


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Before writing The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture, Andrew Mefferd spent seven years in the research department at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, traveling around the world to consult with researchers and farmers on the best practices in greenhouse growing. Andrew has graciously agreed to offer up his expertise to our […] Read More

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