San Antonians trade in shopping bags for shovels

How some local residents are saving money by picking up home gardening

SAN ANTONIO – As food prices continue to go up, many people are going outside to do their own gardening for fruits and vegetables.

“Everybody is really trying to get involved in gardening, learning how to kind of grow food for themselves and also for their community,” said Angela McDermott, San Antonio Food Bank interim farm manager and garden engagement coordinator. “I know there are some sites looking to maybe start their own farmer’s market as well.”

McDermott has been working with the food bank for more than six years, and over the past few months she has seen a sharp increase from people wanting to grow their own produce at home.

“We’ve noticed a huge uptick in the amount of individuals, and also schools and some senior centers looking for more garden education,” McDermott said.

This home gardening trend is in part to the rising costs of groceries. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reported Wednesday inflation for food is up nearly 8% from February 2021, the largest increase since May 1981.

McDermott said investing into growing your food pays off in the long run.

I tell people that’s kind of like your retirement fund, $5 to $20 now for a fruit tree will probably give you within three years a good $200 worth of fruit,” McDermott said.

She said they can also help answer any questions to get you started.

“Are you going to garden in a raised bed, in the ground or containers? What’s your water source? What are you going to do with that harvest at the end? We go through all of those different topics to get people thinking about what their garden might look like,” McDermott said.

People interested in learning more about at-home gardening can visit the San Antonio Food Bank’s main campus. The food bank offers classes, tours and volunteer opportunities for anyone who wants to get hands-on experience with growing their own food.

One of those people taking gardening into his own hands is San Antonio resident James Revels.

“I picked it up in the last year or so since I moved down here,” Revels said while at Evergreen Garden Center on West Hildebrand.

Revels said it took him some time to learn how to grow his own herbs and spices, but it’s helped his bottom line.

“Getting the pots and actually getting the plants and everything kind of takes a lot, but then they start growing and then you learn more how to cook with them, it kind of adds up,” Revels said.

Revels said home gardening has affected more than his wallet.

“It’s also enjoyable, not only for like the money aspect, but just getting out in nature and getting some sunlight,” he said.

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About the Authors

RJ Marquez is the traffic anchor/reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He also fills in as a news anchor and has covered stories from breaking news and Fiesta to Spurs championships and high school sports. RJ started at KSAT in 2010. He is proud to serve our viewers and be a part of the culture and community that makes San Antonio great.

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