Could rising prices feed appetite for gardens?

by Amber Hildebrandt, CBCNews.ca

Call it the zero-mile diet. Call it a victory garden. Even call it a potager if you want to sound chic.

But the fact is more and more people seem to be mucking around in their yards, patio containers and on apartment rooftops to plant vegetables, herbs and other edibles.

A bunch of Chiogga beets, which date back to the mid-1800s. (Sheryl Nadler/Canadian Press).

A rise in food gardening comes as no surprise to author and gardener Gayla
Trail. She writes on her blog that she's sensed the changing tide as she gets more and more e-mails from newbie green thumbs seeking information about planting food instead of flowers.

And she's not the only one who's noticed. The Tyee wrote earlier this month that some seed companies were struggling to keep up with demand.

Part of it seems to do with the well-rooted "locavore" trend, but economic uncertainty and rising food prices are no small players.

With wallets thin, a little idea seems to be gaining ground: the victory garden. I've recently noticed rumblings online about the Second World War-era concept, some putting up the idea as food for thought and others issuing a call to action.

As part of the war effort in the early 1940s, the U.S. and Canadian governments instructed citizens, via video and booklets, to help out by creating a garden or making the most of the ones they had. As a result, gardens began popping up in window boxes, on schoolyards and other unlikely places.

But is the economic turmoil of the present enough for the success of another push for people to grow their own food? Maybe not alone. But piggybacking on locavorism, new-age victory gardens may just stand a chance.

I, for one, have a garden, albeit a small and mostly herbal one. But even if it doesn't provide enough to feed even one, I still reckon the fruits of my labour will be sweeter than dropping a few dollars at the corner store.