By Katharine Ramsden, Global Head of Thought Leadership, Thomson Reuters
Call it what you will. Farm-to-table. Locovore. Slow food. Organic farming. Sustainable agriculture.
Its everywhere – the Food Network, the hottest restaurants, green markets. But in reality, its not new, only rediscovered. People in ever greater numbers in the U.S. are doing what generations before us (and humans around the globe) have always done: growing their own food. This summer, I am one of them.
I will be honest, it’s a small garden. Tomatoes, peppers, basil, parsley, rosemary. A little lettuce, chard, kale. It’s perhaps 4 feet by 16 feet, along the sunny side of the barn behind my house. My mother, on a farm in New Hampshire, has gardened on a larger scale for many years. Beans, beets, brussel sprouts, onions, cucumbers, zucchini. She cans and preserves and pickles, makes tomato sauce she freezes. She feeds garden prunings to her chickens (trust me, the eggs taste better than any you’ve ever eaten from a store.) These are things people in rural areas have always known and always done. My own ambitions are more modest – pick and eat. I am a cook who has long bought fresh ingredients, now I am growing them outside my kitchen.
Findings from a National Gardening Association (NGA) survey, indicate that food gardening in the U.S. has been on the rise for awhile. Seven million more households grew their own fruits, vegetables, herbs, or berries in 2009 than in 2008, — a 19 percent increase. This increase was nearly double the 10 percent growth in vegetable gardening from 2007 to 2008 and has only continued to grow since.
Who is out in the garden? This infographic gives a nice snapshot. (Even the White House has a vegetable garden.) Like me, most of them are growing tomatoes. It’s been a good summer for tomatoes … hot, but with plenty of rain. (more…)