By definition, urban gardening is "the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around cities." The interest in home gardening grew in the year 2020 unlike any year since America's patriotic "Victory Gardens" were planted during World War I and World War II. During WWII, home, school, and community gardeners produced an estimated 40% of the United States fresh vegetables and fruits, from approximately 20 million gardens! This was the last time in history that food security was under attack until COVID-19 caused the entire world to go on lockdown. In 2020, a resurgence of home gardens grew across the entire world setting record breaking demands for seeds, soil, and plants.
Ten years ago, we (Dana & Sarah) produced a documentary about gardening called BACK TO EDEN. We both decided that in addition to the main star, Paul Gautschi, a gardener and arborist from Washington, we wanted to include both of our families in the documentary. If we wanted to change the world, we knew we had to start with our own relatives. Neither of our parents had acres of land. Mark and Diane (Sarah's parents) installed a demonstration community garden at a church in Gettysburg while Ron and Sylvia (Dana's parents) installed a demonstration backyard garden at their home in California. The goal of the demonstration gardens was to show that Paul Gautschi's gardening method could be implemented in diverse soil conditions and climates.
In 2011, BACK TO EDEN premiered online, streaming for free, and immediately went viral. The documentary quickly ignited a global gardening movement called, "Back to Eden Gardening." Fast forward nearly 10 years after the release of the film, Back to Eden Gardening is renowned as one of the best gardening methods in 2020. During the first month of quarantine in the United States, BACK TO EDEN received nearly 1 million views on YouTube.
Quarantine brought on a new wave of beginner gardeners who were desperately searching for the best ways to grow food at home. Living in Los Angeles, California, we found ourselves under a "safer at home" order which encouraged us to spend more time in our urban garden. We shared our urban gardening experiences daily on Instagram hoping to teach and inspire other home gardeners! Although our backyard and front yard gardens total less than ⅛ of an acre, we were able to grow all of our own produce this year enabling us to have food security during these difficult time. Since we have limited space we focused on creating rich soil. The fact is, when your soil is full of nutrients, you are able to grow a high quantity of nutrient-rich food in a small garden plot. We grew everything from Apples to Zucchini in our small urban garden.
To this day, both of our parents are still gardeners who practice the Back to Eden Gardening method. Mark McOmber offers tours of his community garden in rural Pennsylvania and shares a wealth of knowledge on his YouTube channel.