Pandemic Gardens Have Become “A Thing”

The Lempert Report
February 11, 2021

Almost a year into the pandemic the trend Pandemic Gardens continues to grow.

Back in April at the beginnings of the pandemic, George Ball, chairman of the 144 year old Burpee Seeds company declared that the increase in demand was so great they actually had to stop taking new orders for a while just to catch up. Now, almost a year into the pandemic the trend Pandemic Gardens continues to grow (sorry for that). More than one-fourth (26%) of American consumers surveyed in Packaged Facts' National Online Consumer Survey agree that they are planting a food garden because of the pandemic. Packaged Facts’ said in a release that the 2020 recession and financial difficulties have also led to some people wanting to grow their own food due to worries about the future, food insecurity, and concerns about not being able to go grocery shopping or food shortages. These gardens, they go on to say, are not unlike "victory gardens" planted during World War I and World War II when governments encouraged consumers to grow their own food to supplement rations and boost morale. As we have said before in our Trends Reports, many studies have shown a number of physical and mental health benefits of food gardening. Gardening has therapeutic power for many people to increase health and wellness:

  • Evidence shows that volunteering at a community garden or engaging in gardening at home as a hobby can be as effective as antidepressants or talk therapy in some patients.
  • Gardening and spending more time in outdoor environments can have a positive impact on mood, sociability, and energy levels.
  • Gardening activity is correlated with better attention and cognition.
  • Gardening provides consumers with a satisfying experience combining "nature and nurture" that can make them feel better about themselves and their impact on the world.
  • Being in the outdoors or in a greener space has been found to speed up the healing process for physical wounds.

This has been a difficult year for all of us, and supermarkets have a unique opportunity to expand in-house floral departments to include pre-potted fruit and vegetable seedlings and advice on how to grow your own. While some short sighted retailers will complain that a shopper who grows their own tomatoes is a lost sale – but the reality is that our produce departments have over 500 skus – most of which cannot be grown in a Pandemic Garden – and it time we do our part to help relieve the stress for our shoppers who will reward us by having a better shopping experience and reduce their stresses so they can live longer na healthier lives.