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Growing Numbers of Vegetable Gardens: The Other Side on Food
Swimming in zucchini bread and fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes this year? There’s a good reason. There are more vegetable gardens than ever in the U.S.
Growing numbers of Americans are planting their own gardens. According to a report by the National Gardening Association, over 30 million homes in the U.S., or over one in three of occupied homes, now boast vegetable patches. Urbanites who don’t have a back yard to dig up are joining the trend with herb boxes and vertical tower gardens, and community plots are popping up everywhere.
Even First Lady Michelle Obama gave an official green thumbs up to the trend, publishing “American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America,” earlier this year; eating more home-grown greens is a key element in her anti-obesity campaign.
The benefits are many: gardens slash food costs while allowing growers to plant heirloom varieties rarely found in grocery stores, not to mention that gardeners can control use of pesticides, and avoid iffy practices such as adding color, preservatives and wax to produce. According to the National Gardening Association, 58 percent of gardeners say they’re motivated because home-gardened food tastes so much better.
Fresh-from-the-ground vegetables pack more nutrients than produce that has been stored for days, and with plenty to pluck, fresh vegetables show up more often on the dinner plate.
Community gardens are flourishing, too, with help from city governments devoting space and new programs to them; even companies, including Robert Mondavi, have been handing out grants to community garden projects. What’s more, police departments are reporting that crime goes down in areas where vacant lots are “greened” with gardens. What’s not to love about this growing trend?