By Christine Jordan Sexton
Community gardens aren’t just for the Birkenstock-wearing crowd any- more. These days they are sprouting up nearly everywhere. Data collected by the National Garden Association shows that the number of
households participating in a community garden increased
by 200 percent, from 1 million households in 2008 to
3 million in 2013; while overall, 35 percent of all households in America, or 42 million, grow food at home or
in a community garden.
The data, contained in the report “Garden to Table:
A 5-Year Look at Food Gardening in America” also shows
that the interest in urban gardens has increased from
7 million in 2008 to 9 million in 2013.
Bruce Butterfield, market research director for the
National Garden Association, attributed the increase in
community farming to a souring economy as well as interest among millennials, the term used to describe people
between the ages of 18 and 34.
In 2008 there were 8 million millennial food gardeners. That figure rose to 13 million in 2013, an increase
of 63 percent.
Millennials also nearly doubled their spending on food
gardening, from $632 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion
With statistics like that, it’s perhaps not surprising that
the environmental nonprofit kick-starter organization
IOBY.org, has gone national. The acronym stands for
“In Our Back Yard” and pokes fun at the NIMBY — or
not in my backyard — movement that was prevalent in
the 1980s and 1990s.
IOBY.org funded nearly 2,000 community-led parks,
biking, hiking, composting and chicken projects across
New York City before it went national. Community gardens are one of the initiatives the kick-starter helps funds.
Millennials nearly doubled their
spending on food gardening.
Urb an Growing
Gardening supports the health of communities
Courtesy of Denver Urban Gardens
Courtesy of Bread for the City