E.V. needs to make sure its gardens grow - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

E.V. needs to make sure its gardens grow

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Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 4:21 pm | Updated: 1:31 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Our View: Public demand for locally grown vegetables, roots and herbs has been on the upswing for a couple of years, growing fast enough here in Arizona that the supply just isn't keeping up.

Public demand for locally grown vegetables, roots and herbs has been on the upswing for a couple of years, growing fast enough here in Arizona that the supply just isn't keeping up.

Temporary farmers markets definitely are gaining in cachet across the Valley. Some markets are sponsored by municipalities or community organizations seeking to bring more foot traffic to their business districts. Other swap meet-style venues have been started by private investors who see potential profit in certain shoppers looking for recently picked produce with a greater variety of flavors.

The expanding number of day markets has arrived even as the available land in the Valley for actual farming keeps shrinking. This conundrum has created a shortage of vendors and produce at farmers markets from Queen Creek to Ahwatukee Foothills, as Tribune writer Amanda Keim noted Wednesday.

This gap between supply and demand will disappear eventually as long as government doesn't get in the way. And one likely source will be the neighborhood garden.

We have spoken with market vendors from Chandler and Mesa who clearly aren't farmers, but who have produced sizable crops from plantings in their backyards. Even a narrow strip of dirt, properly cultivated, can produce an amazing selection of food throughout the year.

The rebirth of gardening has become something of a cause celeb that's being promoted by everyone from Queen Creek Mayor Art Sanders to first lady Michelle Obama. Supporters offer various reasons including lower transportation costs and energy use and less air pollution.

In this economic climate, we can offer one more - those who garden can make a little money from others who like the homegrown taste but don't have the time or space to wield a spade.

As Keim discovered, there's more than one farmers market out there offering you a chance to turn a hobby garden into some cash.

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