Findings from a recent National Gardening Association (NGA) survey show food gardening on the rise, as 7 million more U.S. households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs or berries in 2009. This is a 19 percent increase from 2008 and is nearly double the 10 percent growth in veggie gardening activity from 2007 to 2008.
In 2008, gardeners spent a total of $2.5 billion to purchase seeds, plants, fertilizer, tools and other gardening supplies to grow their own food. According to NGA estimates, a well-maintained food garden yields a $500 average return per garden when considering a typical gardener’s investment and the market price of produce.
Key highlights from The Impact Of Home And Community Gardening Survey include:
– 43 million U.S. households plan to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries in 2009, up 19 percent from 36 million households in 2008.
–21 percent of households said they plan to start a food garden in 2009.
–11 percent of households already active in food gardening plan to increase both the amount and variety of vegetables they will grow in 2009; 10 percent also said they will spend more time food gardening this year.
“As in previous recessions, we’ve seen increased participation in and spending on food gardening as people look for ways to economize,” says Bruce Butterfield, research director for the NGA. “That said, these results suggest the interest in food gardening may continue to increase, even after the economy improves.”