When the pandemic hit, most of us watched as supply chain shortages, including imports that account for 15% of US food consumption, emptied grocery store shelves for the first time. Faced with such unprecedented stress, it's no surprise that just over one in four Americans began growing food at home, according to a Packaged Facts National Online Consumer survey.
These novice gardeners said their worries about the future, including food shortages, hunger, and inability to go to the grocery store, were the main reasons for their newfound self-sufficiency. Locally grown meant more than just being within driving distance; it meant being in your backyard.
"The appeal of being able to grow fresh, year-round, is just too much to resist," said Kevin Morgan, a retired print industry professional. "My outdoor gardening is raised beds, but I live in Indiana, so we have a limited growing season." Practicality aside, food security isn't the only reason to garden. The long-associated health benefits of plant exposure, or "green therapy," were the draw for many.
The jury's out on whether interest in at-home hydroponic gardens will wane once the pandemic ends -- not that we can be certain when that is. For home gardeners who've invested in pricier models, it would come at a tangible cost.
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