April 15, 2020
As millions of Americans hunker down at home during the coronavirus outbreak, many are wondering, “Sow what?” In fact, “pandemic farms”—home gardens full of vegetables and fruits; and even chickens, cows, and goats—are fast replacing perfect lawns nationwide.
The increase in orders is “just unbelievable,” George Ball, chairman of Burpee Seeds, a 144-year-old seed company in Pennsylvania, told the network news outlet. The company closed to new orders last week because it needed time to catch up, although it plans to start accepting them again on April 15..
“If I had to put my thumb on it, I would say people are worried about their food security right now,” Emily Rose Haga, the executive director of the Seed Savers Exchange, an Iowa-based nonprofit devoted to heirloom seeds, ” said in an interview with CBS News. “A lot of folks, even in our region, are putting orders into their grocery stores and having to wait a week to get their groceries. Our society has never experienced a disruption like this in our lifetime.”
Other Americans are struggling to put food on the table. Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, reported a 98% increase in demand. And the need may be most critical in rural America, reported CBS This Morning correspondent Janet Shamlian. Pantries in some rural communities are closing because food is scarce while the volunteers who staff them are concerned about their own health.
Seed Savers Exchange started to notice an increase in orders in mid-March. Demand spiked during the following two weeks, Haga recalls. For now, the nonprofit also has put a halt on new orders while it catches up on the backlog.
“We received twice the amount of orders we normally receive,” she said, adding that the company of about 60 employees hired 16 workers to help cope with the flood of sales.
Research contact: @CBSNews