(NewsNation) — Rising inflation has made it more difficult for some people to keep food on the table. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the food price index climbed more than 9% in April —the largest 12-month increase in 41 years.
This jump has led more people to start planting their own gardens as an alternative to combat price hikes.
“A vegetable garden can yield you over $400 worth of fresh vegetables, so dollar-wise, it’s quite a saving,” said Chuck Hafner, the owner of Chuck Hafner’s Garden Center.
The gardening industry bloomed after the start of the pandemic, with more than 18 million people becoming first-time gardeners. Since 2021, more than 2 in 5 American households farmed their own food.
Experts believe that number is up even more with surging inflation.
Fresh fruit is up 10% more than it was this time last year; fresh vegetables are nearly 6% more.
“Our food, it’s cheaper than going to the grocery store; it’s not been on a truck, it’s got more nutrition, more flavor,” said Elizabeth Dry, a plant & food to table expert.
Dry started gardening 13 years ago. She doesn’t have to deal with the supply chain. She says she’s never been healthier before, and she’s never been happier.
“Connection, community, gardens grow so much more than food,” Dry said. “If you don’t think you need to become more self-reliant, think again because it’s everything. I don’t worry what other people worry about because I have things at my fingertips.”
For new gardeners, the biggest cost is fertilizer, especially as prices continue to rise with suppliers in Russia and China.