Global gardening roots boom has been trigger by the coronavirus pandemic. The seed suppliers reported an unprecedented demand in the initial days of lockdown. The trend was compare to World War II victory gardens, in which Americans grew food at their homes to feed their families and support the war effort.
This analogy is very useful. It is only one part of a larger story about why gardeners grow in difficult times. In times of turmoil, Americans have used the soil to cope with anxieties and to imagine new possibilities. My research has led me to believe that gardening is a hidden landscape of belonging and connection, for creativity and better health.
These motivations change over time, as growers adapt to changing historical circumstances. Today, the motivation to grow vegetables is not so much fear of hunger as it is hunger for physical contact with nature, hope for its resilience, and a desire to do real work.
Why Americans Garden Roots
Before industrialization, Americans were farmers. It would have been strange to cultivate food for leisure. As they moved to cities and suburbs to work in factories and offices, the novelty of coming home and putting your hands into one’s potatoes beds became more appealing. The nostalgia associate with traditional farm life was another reason gardeners drawn to gardening.
Jim Crow-era gardening was a way for black Americans to express their desires and provide a means of subsistence work. Alice Walker’s essay, In Search of Mothers’ Gardens, recounts how her mother cared for her flower garden after a long day of hard labour. She wondered as a child why anyone would choose to add another task to such a hard life. Walker realized that gardening was more than just another type of labour. It was an artistic expression.
For black women, especially those who are relegate in society’s most undesirable jobs, gardening offers the opportunity to remake a small part of the world, Walker said, personally image of Beauty.
New Generation Of Home-Growers Roots
However, gardening is not all about food. In the 1950s, convenience cuisine was popularized by a new generation of home-growers as well as back-to-the land movements. They rebelled against a midcentury diet that is now known for Jell-O mold salads and canned-food casseroles.
Gardeners of the millennial era have responded to longings in millennial generations for inclusion and community, particularly among marginalized communities. To revitalize their neighbourhoods, immigrants and residents in inner-city areas have turned to guerrilla gardening to grow fresh produce and green space. Ron Finley, a South Central L.A. resident and self-described gangsta gardener, was threatened with arrest in 2011 for planting vegetable plots on sidewalks.
These appropriations of public spaces for community use can often be seen as threats to existing power systems. Many people are unable to grasp the notion that someone could spend their time tending a garden and not reap the benefits. Finley answered reporters’ questions about whether he was concerned that someone would steal the food.
The Age Of Screens Gardening Roots
My sister Amanda Fritzsche has transformed her Cayucos backyard into a beautiful sanctuary since the lockdown began. She’s also been doing Zoom workouts, watching Netflix and joining online happy hours. She seems to lose energy as she gets older and more distant virtual acquaintances.
Her life has been taken over by gardening. Her garden has expanded from the back, with plants that were originally planted at the side of her house. She also enjoys gardening late into the night, sometimes working by headlamp.
Amanda’s new obsession with screen time kept her coming back to me when I asked her about it. Although virtual sessions can give you a temporary boost, she said that there is always something missing. She also mentioned the empty feeling that she gets when she logs off.
Most people can sense what is missing. It’s the presence of others and the chance to use our bodies in meaningful ways. The same desire for community that fills yoga studios with other people and coffee shops with gig workers. It’s the energy of the crowd at concerts, or the whispering of students in class roots.
Novel Coronavirus Highlights
The novel coronavirus highlights an age of distance. However, gardening is a way to extend the promise of real contact. My sister also talked about how gardening appealed the whole body. She cited sensory pleasures such as hearing bird song and insects, tasting herbs and flowers, the warmth of the sun and satisfying ache and the virtual world’s ability to absorb attention.
This season gardening is more than just physical activity. Robin Wallace, a Camarillo-based photo producer, said that the lockdown had made her suddenly insignificant as a non-essential worker. She continued to highlight a key advantage of her garden. The Gardener is never without purpose, a plan, or a mission.
Automation and better algorithms are making more work obsolete. This makes the longing for purpose all the more urgent. The gardens are a reminder of the limits of what can done with out physical presence. Gardening can’t done through a computer screen, just like handshakes or hugs.
YouTube might be a good place to learn, but real gardening expertise is gain by actually handling plants and getting their likes, dislikes, and smell. He explained that Book roots learning gave him information, but only direct contact with a living organism can provide any real understanding.
Filling The Void
Page’s observation points out a final reason for the surge in gardening following the coronavirus pandemic. The era of deep loneliness is here, and digital devices are only one reason. This emptiness is also cause by the dramatic retreat of nature, which began long before screens addiction. People who grew up during the COVID-19 epidemic have seen the oceans disappear and glaciers disappear. They also saw the Amazon erupt and grieved the loss of so much of the planet’s wildlife.
This may explain why stories about nature’s comeback, alongside gardening headlines, keep popping up. Images of birds and animals filling empty spaces are a joy. Some accounts are plausible, while others are doubtful. It doesn’t matter if they give a glimpse at the world as it is. In times of extreme suffering and climate collapse, we long for signs of life’s resilience.
Wallace gave me a hint in my final conversation about how this desire fuels today’s gardening craze. She was amaze at the way that the garden keeps on growing despite our absence.