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The May long weekend in Canada is traditionally the most popular time for gardening, and this year was likely no exception. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in gardening’s popularity as Canadians seek ways to combat rising food costs. Bill Hardy, chair of the Canadian Nursery and Landscaping Association, explained that the Victoria Day weekend marks the start of the gardening season due to warmer temperatures. Planting vegetable seeds too early can result in a poor harvest, so waiting until the frost-free period is essential for success. Hardy noted that more people are turning to gardening for food security, especially since COVID-19 disrupted supply chains.

Jill Van Duyvendyk, owner of Dutch Growers Saskatoon, noted a growing trend in Canada towards food gardening, with more people creating spaces for growing their own food over the past few years. Economics professor Jason Childs from the University of Regina pointed out that food prices have shown significant movement in recent years, with inflation largely driven by food prices. This has led to more people changing their grocery shopping habits and turning to gardening for a more cost-effective way to access fresh produce. Total sales in the greenhouse, sod, and nursery industries saw a 7.5% increase in 2021, with the highest sales in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec.

Canada’s annual inflation rate rose slightly in March 2024, primarily due to higher gas prices. Data from Statistics Canada showed an overall inflation rate of 2.9% year-over-year, with food prices purchased from restaurants increasing by 5.1% year over year in January. International food prices have fallen from a peak in March 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Saskatchewan resident Rosemary Wasylyshyn, who grew up on a farm, highlighted the cultural significance of gardening for her. She finds joy in gardening, particularly during the spring when she can see plants growing and producing.

Hardy emphasized that it’s not too late to start planting even if you missed the May long weekend. He emphasized the health and well-being benefits of gardening, noting that the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction it brings is a significant pick-me-up. The gardening industry in Canada saw significant growth in 2021, with total sales reaching $4.7 billion. This growth was considered a resounding success by Statistics Canada. The popularity of gardening is expected to continue to rise as Canadians seek ways to combat rising food prices and ensure food security for themselves and their families.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a renewed interest in gardening as Canadians look for ways to offset the increasing cost of food. The May long weekend traditionally marks the start of the gardening season in Canada, with many people taking advantage of the warmer temperatures to start planting. The economic impact of rising food prices has led more Canadians to turn to gardening as a cost-effective way to access fresh produce. Despite inflation and supply chain disruptions, the gardening industry in Canada continues to thrive, with significant growth in sales in 2021. The cultural significance of gardening is also highlighted, with many Canadians finding joy and satisfaction in growing their own food.

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