But if you look at numbers from the National Gardening Association's 2009 Impact of Home and Community Gardening in America survey, you'll see a very different picture. Food gardening was UP 19 percent over the year before. And 21 percent of food gardening households in 2009 will be new to gardening. Here are a few more stats from that survey on why people reported that they garden:
These aren't all about food! 35 percent of respondents just wanted to spend more time outside. Outside! In a white-collar, computer-centric world, people still want to be outside.To grow better tasting food ....58To save money on food bills ....54To grow better quality food....51To grow food I know is safe ....48To feel more productive .....40To spend more time outdoors ....35To get back to basics ....25To have food to share with others....23To live more locally ....22To have a family activity.....21To teach my kids about gardening ....30
Maybe we need to stick the Floriculture Crop Summary in a drawer for a little bit and take a look at what's working, not how we're failing. A few suggestions:
Cross-merchandising. Do you market flowers with vegetable plants? Get that impulse buy going. How about six packs or flats mixed with strawberries and white petunias? Strawberries and cream! Tomatoes and torenia.
Continue to market vegetables in a big way. If people aren't in the garden center, they're not going to buy any kind of plant. If the veggies get them in the door, so be it. Some people are saying they're not sure how long the veggie trend will last. I think it might have more legs than we think. After all, I've already put all this sweat equity into building a raised bed. I should keep using it.
Don't forget about the kids. Direct from the NGA survey: "Nineteen percent of all U.S. households were aware of gardening activities for students at their local school. That contrasts with a majority of households (55 percent) that said gardening activities should be implemented whenever possible (35 percent), or should be implemented in every school (20 percent)."
This is your future consumer. Is there anything you can do to get a plant in a school near you?
What else? It doesn't have to be flowers versus food? How can they work together?