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Growing, Up: Why Angelenos Should Really Dig Gardening

West LA's Ocean View Farms, a non-profit community garden. Photo by Dave Bullock (eecue) via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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During World War II they were called "Victory Gardens"--home-tended sections of land yielding money-saving produce for folks without much money to spare. While "Victory Gardens" might call to mind PBS programming an older relative might enjoy, the impulse to plant and grown has taken root once again nationwide. Now we call them "Recession Gardens" but by any other name the rose--or tomato plant--will still smell as sweet:

Industry surveys show double-digit growth in the number of home gardeners this year, and mail-order companies report such a tremendous demand that some have run out of seeds for basic vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and peppers. (Daily News)

Gardening at home, or in a community plot, has a very clear bottom line: "The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per year. A study by Burpee Seeds claims that $50 spent on gardening supplies can multiply into $1,250 worth of produce annually."

Not everyone has a yard, so for many, joining a community garden can be a solution; local ones are experiencing a surge in popularity. Many Angelenos believe now is the time to set up more such resources, like in West Hollywood, where vacant lots seem to cry out with potential. Although for many would-be gardeners, cultivating a green thumb might require a little extra learning (especially if it's an old dog/new tricks scenario), many school-aged kids in LA are fortunate enough to be able to participate in educational gardening programs; with the state of our economy we could all benefit from their savvy so long as our economy lets us fund the programs.

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There are currently around 60 community gardens in Los Angeles, according to the Community Garden Council; use their website to help find one near you--you dig?