Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

Add to My MSN

US Households Grow Home Food Gardens

10/8/2010 9:47:27 AM

Tags: question to readers, poll results, home gardens, home food gardens

We asked you recently what percentage of people in the U.S. you would guess grow a food garden. Nearly half of you guessed that the answer was 10 percent or less. Here are the complete results:

gardne_markerWithout looking it up, what percentage of people living in the U.S. would you guess grow a food garden?  

1. Probably 10 percent or less. It seems the norm is relying on supermarkets for food, and so many people live in the city these days. 47.49% (199 votes)   

2. I’d guess around 20 percent. 32.7% (137 votes)  

3. About 30 to 40 percent. 13.37% (56 votes)   

4. I think it’s 50 percent or more. The local food movement has really been gaining traction, and it seems more and more people are growing at least some of their own food. 6.44% (27 votes)   

You may be surprised to learn, according to the National Gardening Association, 31 percent of all U.S. households participated in food gardening in 2008. All too often we are bombarded with discouraging news about our food system: rising rates of childhood diabetes, salmonella outbreaks and genetically modified salmon, to name a few. We at MOTHER EARTH NEWS are happy we can all celebrate that over a third of American households are taking food production back into their own hands.

Of the 36 million gardening households, more than half reported growing their food because it tastes better and saves them money on groceries. Tomatoes were by far the most popular vegetable, grown in 86 percent of gardens nationwide. Cucumbers came in second, followed by sweet peppers, beans, carrots, summer squash, onions, hot peppers, lettuce and peas.

The number of organic gardens — those tended with only all-natural fertilizer, insect and weed control — rose from an estimated 5 million households in 2004 to over 12 million in 2008. Nearly 90 percent of households polled by the 2008 Environmental Lawn and Garden Survey responded that environmentally-friendly lawn and garden maintenance was important. This concern for the environment was also the main reason cited by polled organic gardeners as the basis for abstaining from using chemicals in their food gardens.

With the number of home gardens expected to rise in the coming years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has an array of gardening articles and advice. Search our Grow It! blog and our Organic Gardening Archive for all your gardening questions, and to start — or expand — your own food garden.

Jennifer Kongs is the Managing Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine. When she’s not working at the magazine, she’s likely working in her garden, on the local running trails or in her kitchen instead. You can find Jennifer on Twitter or .

Photo from Flickr/Chiot’s Run  

Related Content

Weed & Water Wednesday: 10 Green Gifts for Gardeners — All Under $50

Check out this roundup of 10 favorite sustainable gifts for the gardeners on your list — all under $...

The Great Food Race

Chicago and New York City vie to be the first to pass a green food resolution.

Doing a Little Something for Ourselves

We learned a long time ago that we couldn’t attract an audience for our magazines unless we gave our...

Earth Gauge Tip of the Week — Spring Gardening

April is National Garden Month! Learn about the benefits of building a garden and tips on how to cre...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.