Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Chained Locavore

From the bean of Green Bean.

I had to hit Home Depot a couple days ago for a toilet plunger.  (Yup, if your eight year old puts enough recycled toilet paper down a toilet, it will very nearly overflow!)  After pulling into the parking lot, I was greeted by this beauty.


Honestly, I'm not sure what to think.  

The eat local movement has clearly hit the mainstream if big box stores are cashing in on it.  But isn't there something oxymoronic about that?  

It is really great that people who wouldn't or couldn't visit a farmer's market or a locally owned nursery can obtain affordable vegetable starts at a major outlet.   Indeed, the nursery section of Home Depot was overloaded with all different kinds of vegetable seedlings, berry plants and fruit trees.  As a result, I'm certain there will be more vegetable gardens out there. 

But what is Home Depot selling?  From what I saw, most of their stock was non-organic, hybrid and pretty healthy looking.  Not something I necessarily want in my back yard and yet . . .

Well, what do you think about the chained locavore movement?  Good thing?  Bad thing?  Or a bit of both?

12 comments:

Sandy said...

I think it's a step in the right direction. Once people begin growing their own, they will be more aware of the different options available to them. It's a start...there's a learning curve from plunking a tomato in a pot to knowing the difference between hybrids and heirlooms, determinate or indeterminate...but it's positive movement. I didn't always start my own from seed. I started that way too.

CallieK said...

I'm not a huge fan of HD by any means and I rarely buy plants or seeds of any sort from them but in terms of gardening supplies they do carry a wide range of affordable items like hoses and tools. Everyone has to start somewhere and if you have some luck with a few healthy seedling even if they're hybrids you're more likely to move on to more challenging things.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

Back in college when I planted my very first garden on the side of my rental house, I bought my tomato and pepper seedlings at either Home Depot or Lowes. The little old ladies next door swore that nothing would grow in that spot, but boy did I surprise them with some beautiful Big Boy tomatoes. Now that I have enough space for a real garden and I've expanded beyond tomatoes and peppers, I get my seeds and seedlings from the nursery down the street, but I don't discount Home Depot or Lowes as good places to start. I don't think big box stores are going to disappear, and it's better that they're selling plants than a bunch of crap we don't need.

Daisy said...

Is it truly locavore if the plants are brought in from far away? It's a good start, but gardeners can do better.

leather belts said...

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Green Bean said...

Thank you, all, for the thoughts. Most of your comments thought HD getting in on the "grow your own scene" was a good thing. Interestingly, when I tweeted this post, I got some very firm responses that it was a negative thing. If nothing else, I think big box stores trying to cash in shows us that these movements are here to stay and are powerful movements - despite what the Congress says.

ruchi said...

I think this is a case of don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I felt the same way about Walmart starting to sell organic produce.

This isn't to say that *you* Green Bean should buy your plants at Home Depot or your produce at Walmart because it's great to support smaller businesses. But that other people don't go to farmers markets or local organic nurseries or whatever. Ultimately, if people are growing tomatoes AND eating em, I think that's great.

Katie said...

Serious question here. I'm new to growing my own food and, well, let's say I'm a work in progress. I bought seeds this year (yikes, from Target, but they are organic at least) and am not sure that seed thing is going to work as I planned. I'm predicting I'll have to replace some of the seeds with veggie plants. If I want to be truly locavore, where should I look for these plants?

Thanks,
Katie

Green Bean said...

@Ruchi - Great point!!

@Katie - I'm inclined to agree with many of the other commenters. Everyone starts somewhere. In fact, I just found a packet of 2008 seeds in my seed box from none other than HD so don't worry about the Target thing. If your seeds don't work (and I'm not very good at seed starting at most things except flowers, pumpkins, peas, beans and such), try the farmers market. Ours often carries tomato, pepper, herb and lettuce starts. Alternatively, smaller locally owned nurseries will carry semi-local starts that are usually pretty good variety and quality. And, if all else fails, it is not the worst thing in the world to get a tomato start from HD or Target if that little seedling feeds you all summer long!

Katie said...

Thank you green bean!

robbie @ going green mama said...

Big box chains have been selling veggie plants etc for years. I've always maintained that it's better to buy your starts at the farmers market. Cheaper, better variety, and you know it can handle your local weather and soil, not just your "zone."

Brenda Pike said...

On the one hand, I think chain stores doing anything sustainable is a good sign, and we should encourage it. On the other, wasn't it tomato plants from chain stores that were the source of the tomato blight in 2009? I'd avoid them like the plague.

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