Continuing with the trends, the fourth one is Locavores. I’ve written about this trend before. This is the desire to eat foods that are grown, raised or manufactured locally, typically within 100 or so miles of where you live. This means scouting out the farmers markets in your area, buying from family farms that sell directly to the public by direct sales or CSA memberships, or buying from local companies (think United Dairy or Saris Candies).
There are lots of reasons to shop local. Only 18 cents of the food purchase dollar in large supermarket chains goes to the grower. 82 cents goes to the chain or various middlemen. Why not eliminate the middlemen and support the local farmer?
- Food dollars stay in the local economy.
- I get to know the person growing my food and the conditions under which it was raised.
- I get to support the health of the environment and of my family.
Or, grow it yourself.
The other way to be a locavore, of course, is growing your own herbs, fruit and veggies in your back yard– or front yard if you live where this won’t cause your neighbors to throw a hissy-fit.
At Ferda’s we can help with this last idea. We’ll soon have our seeds in stock, followed by cool weather veggie transplants, then warm weather veggies, berries and other small fruits. We’ll have the pots and soil you need to start your own transplants if you want to go that route. And, as the season progresses to the “harvest” stage, we’ll have canning and preserving supplies and information to make eating locally possible even when fresh is no longer available.
According to the Garden Media Group, the third trend for 2009 will be “Blended Gardens.” This is a continuation of the GIY– or Grow It Yourself– trend. It is a method of growing edibles among ornamentals, or edibles as ornamentals. You could sneak lettuces and herbs among your perennials and annuals. Or you could grow blueberries as a hedge or ornamental shrub. There doesn’t need to be a strict line between “the vegetable garden” and “the flower garden.” Space is space, and plants are plants. If the combination appeals to you, and the plants grow well together (sun requirements, water needs, pH, etc.) then why not combine them.
Unless you have a group of male children who love to play touch football on the lawn, who needs all that grass? Put in more gardens, with mulch paths, and edibles in place of, or along with ornamental plants.
Continuing the list of trends identified by the Garden Media Group, the second trend for 2009 is GIY- Grow It Yourself. They define this trend as “Gardening for the Greater Good”– for the earth and our wallets. And, I would add, for our own peace of mind.
In New Zealand, where the seasons are reversed and Spring has just ended, garden centers have seen a 25% increase in the sale of garden seeds, a 100% increase in the sale of seed potatoes, and a 300% increase in the sale of vegetable and herb transplants. With that in mind, we are increasing the number and variety of plants we’ll be growing for sale in 2009, and making it more convenient for new gardeners to try to “grow it themselves”– with smaller vegetable packs and tomatoes in patio containers with cages attached and in hanging baskets. And, because we’ve had many requests for them, we’ll also be offering those “topsy turvy” hanging tomato baskets that allow the tomato to grow out the bottom.
We’ve also added some unusual fruits to the product mix. Doesn’t all that make you wish spring were here already?
According to the Garden Media Group, the number one trend for 2009 will be “Eco-boosting.” More people than ever will be looking to do what they can to improve the ecosystem– from driving hybrid cars and choosing reusable shopping bags, to recycling, seeking out organic solutions, and creating wildlife habitats.
At Ferda’s we are looking into becoming a Certified Wildlife Habitat from the National Wildlife Federation. We have all the elements necessary– sustainable gardening, water and food sources, cover and a place to raise young– but we just haven’t yet completed the paperwork involved. Watch for this to happen in the Spring!
Any of you who know us personally know that this is an important part of our lives. We had a contractor install a large window in our kitchen so that we could watch the birds at our feeders, pond, and birdbath. We travel to Pittsburgh to get good quality bird food. The certification will be a natural next step.
We are officially closed now and taking a much-needed few days off before tearing back into the clean up and evaluation stage of the business for 2008. (Well, except Bob, that is. He works for part of each day–even New Year’s Day.) The rest of us are resting, relaxing, and rejuvenating.
We’ll be back in March, and ready for you with great new plants, some additions to the garden gift shop, and ideas for giving you more value in your purchases. Lord knows you need it in this crazy economy. Watch for money-saving and time-saving ideas on our web site in the meantime.