Bye-bye Lawn, Hello Basil

It’s the ultimate in local eating: raising your veggies just steps from your back door. During World War II, 40 percent of produce consumed came from private “Victory Gardens.” Now, backyard garden plots are making a reappearance—at least in Seattle, where the demand for gardening classes has tripled in the past few years and courses continue to sell out. A local program offering public gardening plots has 6,000 plots assigned and a waitlist of 700 people.

According to “Out With the Lawn, In with Edibles,” an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, urban gardening is on the rise:

There’s a growing interest in turning lawns and landscapes into pesticide-free, food-yielding gardens. More urban residents are seeing the potential for growing their own fruit and vegetables. … Now the city slickers are grabbing a trowel and seed packets and growing zucchini along their front walks and parking strips. Porches are home to peppers in pots.

There are a variety of reasons for the surge in home veggie plots, from a desire to eat local to a disillusionment with big organic and fear of the industrialized food chain and potential contamination. As a hopeful pesto planter says, “This is really about changing people’s perceptions. Everyone wants to eat the best, freshest food, and people don’t think they can create a cornucopia for themselves.”

Come September, she’ll be enjoying her cornucopia on pasta with a scattering of cheese on top.