Even a recession can have an upside, I guess.
“You see a lot more people turning up ground,” said Wanda Hamilton, 61, a lifelong gardener who sells her surplus vegetables at the farmers’ market in West Liberty, a small town in the Appalachian foothills. “It’s the economy. You just can’t afford to shop at the store anymore.”
It is not just eastern Kentucky. Vegetable gardening has been on the rise across the country, according to Bruce Butterfield, research director at the National Gardening Association, driven by rising food prices and a growing contingent of health-conscious consumers. Garden-store retailers have reported increased sales over the past two years, he said, and many community gardens have waiting lists.
“Our sales have skyrocketed,” said George Ball, chief executive of Burpee, one of the largest vegetable-seed retailers. The jump, he said, began around the time Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008, when anxiety about money started to rise.