They say there are those who have a green thumb, and those who do not. I fall somewhere in the middle of “those who do not.” I struggle every day just to water my plants, if only for the opportunity to watch as they grow and thrive right in front of my eyes. As it turns out, many more Americans are doing the same or more when it comes to growing their own food. An estimated one in three U.S. households is now cultivating some amount of their own food. Of course, this does not mean that they are growing all of the food they need, but as it is becoming easier and easier to farm in your own backyard, it can become cheaper and even cost-efficient to create your own farm, even outside of the digital space.
Living in Los Angeles makes it difficult to grow food in a tiny apartment. We live in a desert, and the recent drought hasn’t made it any easier. However, despite all that, even I have been able to get some cherry tomatoes, peppers and various herbs to grow. Growing food in one’s own yard can also result in savings at the supermarket and provide a relaxing pastime in our otherwise hectic schedules.
Certain blogs have written about their escapades into growing their own food as well. As one blog pointed out, they used 120 square feet of space to grow over 80 lbs. of food, saving them around $500 a year in produce costs! With recent outpours of new hydroponic and low soil growing technology, it’s getting more and more economically friendly to invest in a home garden. There are even apps which ask you how much you purchase at the grocery store and show you potential savings in growing your own. Not only are the savings great, but many people are starting to grow more unique types of produce. These different strains of tomatoes, peppers, herbs and more can produce additional unique recipe options than the local chain grocery store can offer.
Older households aren’t the only ones doing well in this gardening renaissance either, as some would expect. Millennials doubled their spending on food gardening, from $632M in 2008 to a staggering $1.2B in 2013. Some other highlights from recent trends show the number of home gardens increasing by 4 million over just 5 years. In 2013, community gardens had tripled in the same amount of years. As we’ve seen consumers moving more towards, responsible sourcing of ingredients, home gardening fills the niche perfectly.
Although I don’t believe grocery stores will be put out of business anytime soon, it’s clear to see that home gardening is a growing segment of the food industry.