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Posted on Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

Home gardening on the rise in the U.S. - gardeners have a variety of motivations

By Jim and Janice Leach


From the White House to neighborhoods, home gardening is on the rise. This helpful graphic comes from the Mother Nature Network.

The infographic presents information from a study by the National Gardening Association, which has a great website with many resources for gardeners and a whole area devoted to gardening with kids.

It's encouraging to see the increase in home gardens, just in the two years cited in the study. What's really notable is the collective economic impact of gardening.

I'm not much for keeping track of how much money we save gardening, especially compared with those serious types who weigh and record all of their home produce, but I know with our way of gardening, we "earn" much more in produce than we spend in garden costs.

The graphic does not include what to me is one of the other most interesting questions of the research — the "why" question. Why do people participate in food gardening? The top reasons were (by percentage):

  • To grow better tasting food ........58
  • To save money on food bills ........54
  • To grow better quality food ........51
  • To grow food I know is safe ........48
  • To feel more productive ............40
  • To spend more time outdoors ........35
  • To get back to basics ..............25
  • To have food to share with others...23
  • To live more locally ...............22
  • To have a family activity...........21
  • To teach my kids about gardening ...30

You can read the study cited here.

What are your motivations for growing your own food? Will you expand your gardens this year?

Janice and Jim Leach tend a backyard plot in downtown Ann Arbor, where they try to grow as many vegetables and other plants as possible. For the last four years, they've published gardening tips, photos and stories at their 20 minute Garden website.


Rork Kuick

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

What Sarah said - outstanding. Beside the reasons listed my garden is sustainable, and it is exercise. Also, I just don't want to pay allot for high quality vegetables, and I would eat less if I didn't have them myself.

Sarah Rigg

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Almost all of the above reasons apply for me! Growing in your back yard is "eating Local" at its finest. You also have a lot of control over what chemicals/fertilzers/etc. go into your garden and you know what organic practices were used or not. It's also good exercise, and excuse to get outside in the sunshine, and it's a great skill to have in hard economic times.