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Could rising prices feed appetite for gardens?

hildebrandt-amber-52.jpg
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.


bushwedding-cp-4834978.jpg
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.

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Comments

Jason

Vancouver

Call it a reality garden. What a joy to dig up my pointless lawn and plant something beautiful and delicious there instead. This year I'm growing tomatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubbard, lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, and herbs along with the usual array of flowers. It's still a hobby garden, but a nice insurance should I need some reasonable gardening skills in the next few years. Gardening - it's the future man.

Posted May 27, 2008 02:52 PM

Lyle Fairley

Victoria

I don't think locavorism will last forever (how many winters before we get sick of eating only root vegetables?), but the high cost of food is making it way more economical to grow your own food.
High yeild crops like potatoes, carrots, beets and lettuce can last me all winter (I just finished last year's carrots).
And nothing tastes better than vine ripened tomotoes from your own back yard.

Posted June 4, 2008 01:34 PM

Michele

Canada

I planted a large garden with heirloom variety seed and will try and save my own seed this year. Most likely a handy skill to learn for the future as well.

Posted June 11, 2008 06:59 AM

G

Ottawa

To all of you who are new @ gardening, please beware of poison plants around your pets. If for example, your dog is in the garden with the rhubbarb leaves, he is going to go for them. Dogs love rhubbarb leaves and just one little nibble can kill a small dog! So please be carefull.

Happy Harvest Everyone!

Posted June 16, 2008 06:13 AM

Anton Nijhuis

Localvorism or Relocationism which I think is a better term is a major reality in our 'Post Carbon' times. As oil prices continue to rise communities will get stronger, small market gardening and garden co-ops will replace the Superstores in the future. This is where we all can grow something and bring our surplus for trade at our local Superstore open market. Can you imagine a world without processed foods!

Posted July 19, 2008 07:31 AM

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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.

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Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

Tara Kimura Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.

Andree Lau Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).

Jessica Wong Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.

Kevin Yarr Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.

Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.

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