A growing trend: Vegetable gardening is experiencing a Renaissance not seen since the 1940s

Rebecca Cuttler rakes new soil in her community garden plot at Strathcona Park. (Gerry Kahrmann, PNG, Vancouver Sun)

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun

A new generation of vegetable gardeners is transforming the urban environment and the way we are thinking about food. They are planting on boulevards, digging garden plots in city parks, tearing the sod out of their back yards and even their front yards and filling their balconies with pots full of herbs and greens. It’s the young, the urban, the cool. And the rest of us, too.

“I’ve been serious about gardening for about three years,” said Rebecca Cuttler, a more-or-less landless Strathcona resident. Cuttler, program manager of the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters at Simon Fraser University, lucked into a plot at the Cottonwood Community Garden near her home after joining a work party organized by the Cottonwood group last fall. She also has a garden at a home owned by her family in Kitsilano.

“We are going to get more ambitious with that [Kitsilano] space this year because it’s an entire yard, so you can do a lot of stuff there,” she said.

Cuttler, 28, has spent countless winter hours sketching her garden space and planning crops by the square foot using the methods she gleaned studying permaculture design at Amherst College in Massachusetts. She has joined forces with a group of seven friends and neighbours to form a Transition Town, essentially a group of people who work together to maximize their productivity and reduce their carbon footprint, using the principles of permaculture to create a sustainable urban ecosystem.

Sophisticated gardeners such as Cuttler and her group are the urban agriculture vanguard, dragging the rest of us along in their jet stream. Evidence suggests there are a lot of willing passengers on the vegetable gardening bandwagon and you don’t need a PhD to get aboard.

The number of households that report having a vegetable garden is now 53 per cent in the United States, according to the 2010 Summer Gardening Trends Research Report, issued regularly by the Garden Writers Association Foundation. That’s up from 38 per cent in 2009 and Canadians appear to be in lockstep with their southern neighbours.

Sales of seeds, garden equipment and gardening books have doubled since 2008, according to Jeanette McCall, owner of B.C.-based West Coast Seeds.

“Three years ago, seed sales really took off and took everyone aback,” she said. Many seed companies struggled to meet the sudden demand.

Until then, the seed business had been steady but not spectacular for several decades.

Read full post at Vancouver Sun

6 responses to “A growing trend: Vegetable gardening is experiencing a Renaissance not seen since the 1940s

  1. Pingback: A growing trend: Vegetable gardening is experiencing a Renaissance … | The Garden Seeds

  2. You have to be careful buying seeds, as most of them are now GMO and the retailer probably doesn’t even know it. You know, when Codex finds out about this, they’ll be on it like white on rice! It’s a step in the right direction, though.

  3. I remember when I was just a toddler in Dubuque, Iowa not long after WWII. Every house still had a victory garden somewhere in the yard and all the neighbors would be out gardening, drinking and having a great time with the kids playing cops and robbers, lots of fun. Doc Blake

  4. I def see a trend in the urban gardening world! Some of my friends are trying their hand at gardening, because they see how easy it is to get fresh herbs from my garden. Then I walked into Whole Foods and saw that they were teaming up with Yes to Carrots to help schools build gardens by giving away grants!

    Thanks for the resources! I’m hoping to expand my humble herb garden into something a little bit more…adventurous! 😉


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