Friday, August 17, 2012

Food Gardening: It’s Popping Up Everywhere

While food gardening is a great activity to do in your yard, it’s also part of a growing trend of people wanting to eat better, grow some of their own food, and have more control on the quality of their food supply. What better way to ensure that you eat healthy food than growing it yourself?

In early 2009, the National Gardening Association (NGA) completed a survey that characterized food gardening in the United States. Here’s what it found:

✓ Approximately 23 percent, or 27 million households, had a vegetable garden in 2008. That’s 2 million more than in 2007. The number of food gardeners increases to 31 percent, or 36 million households, if you include those people growing fruits, berries, and herbs.

✓ The average person spends about $70 on their food garden every year. (I wish I could keep my spending that low!) The total nationwide is $2.5 billion spent on food gardening. I explain what you gain from that $70 in comparison to what you’d spend at the grocery store.

✓ The average vegetable garden is 600 square feet, but 83 percent of the vegetable gardens are less than 500 square feet. Nearly half of all gardeners grow some vegetables in containers as well.

✓ The typical vegetable gardener is college educated, married, female, age 45 or older, and has no kids at home. And almost 60 percent of vegetable gardeners have been gardening for less than five years.

✓ The typical reasons for vegetable gardening in order of importance are: to produce fresh food, to save money, to produce better-quality food, and to grow food you know is safe.

There you have it. Lots of food gardeners are out in their crops, and the numbers are growing faster than corn in July. You may grow only a small food garden, but when all the gardens are added together, the impact is enormous. Need more proof? Let me show you!

The gross national garden product (GNGP) is the combined amount of money that can be produced from America’s food gardens. Here’s how the NGA figured it out (time for some math fun!):

✓ About 36 million households grow vegetables, berries, fruits, and herbs. The average garden size is 600 square feet. The NGA estimates that you can produce about 1/2 pound of vegetables per square foot of garden per year. That’s about 300 pounds of vegetables in the average garden. The average price, in season, of vegetables is about $2 per pound, so the average vegetable garden produces $600 worth of produce. So, Americans invest an average of $70 to yield $600 worth of produce every year. Wow! That’s a good return in my book!

✓ When you figure the numbers nationally, 36 million households spend $2.5 billion to yield a GNGP of more than $21 billion worth of vegetables each year. That’s a stimulus plan I can live with!

Source of Information : vegetable gardening for dummies

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