"The Rebirth of Urban Ag Is a Coronavirus Silver Lining"

"As a veteran urban farmer, I often get questions from friends and family about backyard gardening. So it wasn’t a surprise when my buddy Martin texted me with some questions for how to get a vegetable scene started. “Is it OK to start tomatoes outside now? Or better to start indoors?”

Martin is a chef—a longtime fixture of the Bay Area’s food-to-table scene—and with his restaurant closed, he has time on his hands, some of which he’s using to make sure he keeps his family well fed. He told me that he has 10 pounds of rice and 15 pounds of split red lentils socked away (just in case) and thought he should also begin a little home-scale food production. Nothing unusual, he said—just tomatoes and squash, beans along with some herbs. “I’m trying to ride the line between being prepared and being a prepper,” he told me.

Martin isn’t alone in his sudden enthusiasm for backyard food production. As the crisis of the pandemic settles into the new normal, many people have pivoted from panic buying to what’s being called “panic planting,” and seed companies are reporting an unprecedented surge in demand from home gardeners. Poultry-raising operations and feed stores are experiencing such a spike in interest for laying hens that they are nearly running out of young chicks. As Katie Brimm wrote recently for Civil Eats, “We may be on the verge of a resurgence of World War II-style ‘Victory Gardens.’”"

Jason Mark reports for Civil Eats/Sierra April 15, 2020.

Source: Civil Eats, 04/21/2020