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Fighting food inflation with a garden


Prices at the grocery store are on the rise.

Just last month, food prices jumped 1 percent. They’re up 10 percent from a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Families are feeling the effects on their wallets, but some are easing the burden of rising food prices by growing their own.

More than 18 million people became first-time gardeners when the pandemic started, and many of them grow vegetables.

A new survey by the National Gardening Association found that a third of U.S. households now grow their own food.

Beth Hanson, of Hanson’s Garden Village in Rhinelander, says the Northwoods, too, has seen interest in gardening grow.

“There was a huge increase in demand for plants, seeds, dirt, all that stuff in 2020,” she says. “We definitely saw that continue into 2021.”

Hanson says there was a big demand for vegetables when the pandemic hit, and families that have continued growing produce since then could be saving hundreds of dollars.

The National Gardening Association’s survey found that the average household that grows fruits and veggies saves about $500 a year.

The growing season in northern Wisconsin is shorter than in many other parts of the country, but Hanson says with time and practice, people could still see a return on their investment.

“It takes a few years and working on it to really have that impact your savings,” she says. “But I think it’s a positive when anybody wants to explore supplementing the food chain supply because there’s definitely a lack of things on the shelves at the grocery store currently.”

She says even if gardening doesn’t immediately benefit your wallet, it’ll still be good for your mental health.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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