NGA Articles: Food Gardening in the U.S. at the Highest Levels in More Than a Decade According to New Report by the National Gardening Association

Food Gardening in the U.S. at the Highest Levels in More Than a Decade According to New Report by the National Gardening Association

By: A. Cort Sinnes

  • 35% of all households in America, or 42 million households, are growing food at home or in a community garden, up 17% in five years
  • Largest increases in participation seen among younger households - up 63% to 13 million since 2008
  • 2 million more households community gardening -- up 200% since 2008

Williston, VT (April 2, 2014) - During the past five years there's been a significant shift toward more Americans growing their own food in home and community gardens, increasing from 36 million households in 2008 to 42 million in 2013.

That's a 17% increase and represents the highest level of food gardening in more than a decade, according to a special National Gardening Association report, Garden to Table: A 5-Year Look at Food Gardening in America.

The report shows that more young people, particularly millennials (ages 18-34), are the fastest growing population segment of food gardeners. In 2008 there were 8 million millennial food gardeners. That figure rose to 13 million in 2013, an increase of 63%. Millennials also nearly doubled their spending on food gardening, from $632 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2013.

The report found that more households with children participated in food gardening, increasing participation during the same time period by 25%, from 12 million to 15 million.

Additionally, there was a 29% increase in food gardening by people living in urban areas, up from 7 million in 2008 to 9 million in 2013. Two million more households also reported participating in community gardening in 2013 than 2008, a 200% increase in five years.

″This report clearly shows that there truly is a food revolution taking place in America,″ said Mike Metallo, president and CEO of the National Gardening Association, who will attend the annual planting of the White House Kitchen Garden later today. ″We are seeing more people, particularly young people, actively engaged in growing their own food. The growth in just five years is pretty spectacular.″

As the nation's leading nonprofit in gardening education, the National Gardening Association has published annual statistics on food gardening in America since 1978. This special report examines data collected from 2008 - 2013, providing an in-depth look at trends, statistics and analytical data about food gardening during that period. The data collected shows nearly all categories of food gardening with major increases during the past five years.

Additional highlights from the 5-year report include:

  • 1 in 3 households are now growing food - the highest overall participation and spending levels seen in a decade.
  • Americans spent $3.5 billion on food gardening in 2013 - up from $2.5 billion in 2008 - a 40% increase in five years.
  • 76% of all households with a food garden grew vegetables, a 19% increase since 2008.
  • From 2008 to 2013 the number of home gardens increased by 4 million to 37 million households, while community gardens tripled from 1 million to 3 million, a 200% increase.
  • Households with incomes under $35,000 participating in food gardening grew to 11 million - up 38% from 2008.

The National Gardening Association associates the rise in food gardening to several reasons: An improving economy; strong national leadership, including the launch of the ″Let's Move″ initiative and White House Kitchen Garden by First Lady Michelle Obama during the time period; action by federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase awareness and educational efforts toward food gardening; and more engagement and public-private partnerships through organizations like the National Gardening Association, to promote and build food gardens in communities across the country.

″It's very exciting to see more young people and families involved in growing and eating their own food through food gardening,″ said Metallo. ″National leadership, particularly from the First Lady, has certainly been an important factor in the rise in these numbers. That consistent message over time makes a tremendous difference and helps fuel more community involvement in gardening.″

A complete copy of Garden to Table: A 5-Year Look at Food Gardening in America can be downloaded from the National Gardening Association's website at garden.org. The information contained in the report was compiled by collecting data through annual surveys conducted by Harris Interactive, surveying a representative sample of U.S. Households. Estimates of the general population proportions are obtained from the most recent supplement to the Current Population Surveys. Results are weighted to the general U.S. adult (18+) household population based on known proportions among this population for education, age and gender, race/ethnicity, region, and income level.

About the National Gardening Association: The National Gardening Association (NGA) is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that for more than 40 years has promoted learning through gardening to encourage personal growth. NGA's mission is to empower every generation to lead healthier lives, build stronger communities, and encourage environmental stewardship through educational gardening programs. NGA provided over $4 million in grants to more than 10,000 community-based organizations benefitting 2 million youth across the country. NGA's Gardening with Kids program provides a one-stop shop for obtaining gardening supplies, equipment and free educational resources for schools, families and community gardeners. All net proceeds help support grants and educational resources administered by NGA. Learn more NGA's programs and services at garden.org or kidsgardening.org.



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