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Pandemic gardens satisfy a hunger for more than just good tomatoes

Published on May 14, 2020

Backyard vegetable garden.
Backyard vegetable garden. Image Credit: pxfuel. DMCA

Jennifer Atkinson is a senior lecturer in environmental studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell, and the author of Gardenland: Nature, Fantasy and Everyday Practice. She says she’d get a flurry of responses to her blog posts about pandemic gardening, but she really got interested when she started seeing it in the headlines. “Seed suppliers were saying they were completely cleaned out in the early days of lockdown, that seed sales were going through the roof. And that a lot of those customers were first-time growers.”

Today’s pandemic gardens are often referred to as “victory gardens,” after the patriotic plots of World War II. And Atkinson says there’s some merit to that comparison. But, she says, what’s going on now is much more complex than just an attempt to shore up the food supply during wartime.

“What people are starved for right now isn’t food, but contact with something real,” she says. “We spend all day on screens. We can’t be around each other at restaurants or ballparks. We can’t even give hugs or shake hands. So all of a sudden, the appeal of sinking your hands in the dirt and using your body in ways that matter, that becomes irresistible.”


Continue reading at NPR.

Originally written by Petra Mayer for NPR.
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