Garden For Greenbacks: A Look at Why Kitchen Gardening is the Way of the Future
Traditionally, as the economy gets worse the number of indoor gardeners goes up. People have to stay away from the supermarkets, and instead try and save money however possible. Indoor gardening is one such way and it’s extraordinarily cheap. In this blog post we’re going to look at why pretty soon, especially in America, kitchen gardening is going to become a way of life for most families.
First, let’s take a look at some numbers put together by the National Gardening Association that can give us a point of reference:
“In 1971, 25 million households, or 39% of American families, were raising some of their own vegetables. That number quickly rose until, by 1981, 38 million — 47%, or almost half — of our nation’s households were gardening. Then, however, the numbers started to drop. By 1985, 33 million households — 37% — were growing vegetables.”
How about today? Well, for numbers as recent as 2013, we can come at it from a different angle. The Garden Writers Association Foundation (GWAF) said in their 2013 October Gardening Trends Research Report that 78 million households “have a lawn, garden or grow plants in containers.” That’s a fair amount, and doesn’t include everyone with gardens you can’t see from the outside. Over half (54%) of these folks are growing vegetables.
4 Reasons People are Getting into Gardening
These four reasons are pretty uniform no matter who you talk to, or where you go digging for information. Keep in mind – we’re not including the fun factor, which is without doubt why some people maintain kitchen gardens.
- Higher Quality: Today, folks can get high quality seeds/soil and create supermarket-ready produce for their family in a relatively small grow space or in containers indoors. Quality is the number one reason.
- Non-GMO: A growing number of people simply do not trust supermarket food anymore. Scandal after scandal, recall after recall, on and on it goes, and families would rather know what’s on their dinner plate isn’t a science experiment.
- Better Tasting: Because statistically, more than half of the gardening families aren’t going to use industrial-grade petrol-based pesticides or herbicides, their vegetables taste better! Big shocker there. In reality, the populace is turning away from unclean and unhealthy mass-production models of food that are also toxic for the environment.
- Saving Money: How much could one family save in a year by growing the majority of their plant-based carbs (along with herbs and spices) at home?
Saving money is number four because at the end of the day what we’re looking at is a transformation of the food-economy from the grassroots on up. Let’s talk about it.
The Economics of Kitchen Gardening
You need seeds, soil, nutrients for the soil, containers and in many cases a lighting system. So gardening indoors isn’t exactly free. But, it’s going to cost far less annually than relying on “the system.”
Now, what typically tends to happen is that over time kitchen gardens grow. From one pot to three. From just seasonal windowsill plants to year-round grow spaces. Until finally, it spills out onto the porch, and then if there’s any viable land a garden will appear. Any excess produce can then be sold at the local co-op or farmer’s market. The exact numbers will be different for everyone.
In her recent article, “Does Vegetable Gardening Actually Save Money?” Sharon Rawlette provides a real in-depth analysis of her incoming and outgoing costs for a 2000-sq. ft. vegetable garden. It’s very complex, but this is the end result:
“Now, how much was my harvest worth? It’s hard to get a really accurate figure for this, but I do my best to estimate the value of my produce if it were sold at the local farmer’s market. And what I came up with this year was $964. So a profit of from $221 to $347, depending on how much of the capital costs I include.”
So no one’s going to get rich gardening at home, but they can turn a profit avoiding the inflated supermarket price of carbs and selling excess to others in the community – a true win-win. And the demand for healthy food is only going to increase.
Global Climate Change & Home Gardening
We all agree that the climate is changing. Weather patterns are changing. Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe. Slowly but surely the masses are beginning to recognize that total reliance on the corporate food system is dangerous. The supply could come crashing down at any moment.
Having a home garden is a lot like stockpiling goods for a catastrophic event. Those who have a generator for their lighting needs are in even better shape but these folks tend to be a bit farther outside major metropolitan areas. Imagine how expensive food would be? How much would it cost if the supermarkets went empty? These are serious and legitimate concerns.
Sooner rather than later, the majority of people will be growing at least some of their food at home in kitchen gardens, outdoor gardens, porch gardens, etc. There can be no doubt now. It is definitely the way of the future and it’s unfolding right now all around us.