Victory Gardens in the Face of a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has left the world devastated. Countless countries have gone into recession, and people’s mental health have taken a toll. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that the crisis has stressed Americans the most, reporting the highest percentage at 33%.
The sense of great loss, grief and stress has led individuals and communities in the country to find ways to cope. It seems gardening has been one, if not the most popular weathering choice.
Growing One’s Victory Garden
Gardening B.C.—Before Coronavirus—was different. For one, many would choose to leave the wheelbarrow alone and buy their food from the store. Since shelter-in-place orders led many to come down with cabin fever, gardening essentially came to the rescue. Now more than ever, Americans have been reaping the benefits of gardening in the midst of the pandemic.
“This year, as the COVID-19 pandemic shook my sense of safety and shutdowns kept me home, social media posts about houseplants and victory gardens grabbed my interest for the first time,” Suzzane Perez shares.
The zeal to turn online interest to an onsite hobby became nationwide. With researchers keen on learning more about how gardening is changing people’s lives, the spike in number of first-time gardeners is a promising finding.
“We’ve seen a resurgence of victory gardens, and retail nurseries across the state and nationwide are selling out of vegetable transplants and vegetable seeds,” said Heather Kirk-Ballard, assistant professor of consumer horticulture.
From buying one’s very first seed to harvesting a full meal’s worth, gardening doesn’t only provide sustenance. It’s an act of self-reliance and a gratifying pat on the back despite the current situation. It’s given slivers of safe social interactions in communal gardens and provided homegrown food for one’s loved ones. Gardening has gifted beginners and seasoned growers something that they can control, care for and enjoy.
Changing the Way People Consume
Gardening has proven to be a great reprieve from the outside world. However, it not only opened doors for people to grow their green thumbs. It also opened their eyes more on conscious consumption.
University of California professor Brianne Donaldson notes: "There seems to be evidence of more home cooking, gardening, and reliance on shelf-stable foods, as well as increased dependence on local farmers and community-supported agriculture producers, though it's too early to discern if these shifts will translate to changing habits.”
In a system of fast food, mass production and instant gratification, people across the nation are relearning patience, hard work and the joys of growing one’s own. Despite the daily socioeconomic and mental challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brings, such a gratifying activity is indicating strong signs of improving Americans’ eating habits and demonstrating therapeutic effects.
Growing Big or Small
Gardens are what people make of them. Whether it’s growing one in a big backyard or starting small on a balcony, it always helps to have the right tools in hand. For starters, growbags and landscape fabrics not only make the work easier. These tools also let growers maximize the garden to its full potential and allow a productive and healing time in the face of crisis.
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