More than 2 in 5 US households now grow food after pandemic boom

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FILE IMAGE – A woman puts compost in flower beds as she tends to her plot at Fenway Victory Gardens in Boston on May 20, 2020. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Whether it’s time to start a new hobby during the pandemic, or some are just looking for a healthier, cheaper way to get vegetables and herbs for the family, more Americans are now growing their own food.

“Food gardening,” which is defined as household participation in the gardening of vegetables, fruit trees, berries or herbs, has seen “a significant increase” since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, according to researchers from the National Gardening Association.

The association’s research division shares an annual survey to gauge gardening activity and buying trends in the United States. The 2022 survey, which is expected to be released in the coming days, found that more than two in five US households (41%) participate in food gardening in the United States. 2021 – or approximately 53.7 million households.

As of 2018, the number of US households reporting food gardening was just 35.4%. It fell to 33.1% in 2019 before soaring in 2020 to 41.7% – the first year of the pandemic when many were forced to stay at home and took up new hobbies.

In 2021, the second year of the pandemic, the number of US households growing food fell slightly to 41.3%, but remained above what had been reported in many previous years.

Overall, U.S. households spent an average of $88.24 on food gardening in 2021, according to the annual survey.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans, carrots, summer squash, onions, hot peppers, lettuce and peas were among the best homegrown vegetables in the United States, according to an analysis on five years of food gardening by the association, published in 2014.

The pandemic causes a gardening boom in the United States

Last year’s survey highlighted the gardening boom in the United States, sharing that 18.3 million people bought tools and started gardening in 2020. Experienced gardeners also got out more with two-thirds trying a new gardening activity, he found.

Some 42% of gardeners in 2020 said they had increased their activity due to the pandemic, and 88% of gardeners said they intended to increase or maintain their level of gardening activity in 2021 (36% more , 52% the same).

The researchers said the survey found that the intention to garden more was more pronounced among younger people, gardeners with children, those who live in apartments or condos, as well as black and other gardeners of color.

Why People Gardened More: Mental Benefits, Food, Exercise

Last year’s survey found that young gardeners were more motivated overall by growing food, as well as the benefits of doing a family activity together.

Meanwhile, older gardeners were more driven to garden in 2020 in an effort to spruce up their homes and get some exercise.

All age groups in last year’s survey cited benefits of gardening for mental health and emotions.

This story was reported from Cincinnati

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