A recent study by the University of California Cooperative Extension demonstrates how gardeners in San Jose saved money by growing their own food in community gardens.
Gardeners engaged in the study weighed their harvests throughout the spring and summer, yielding an average of .75 pounds of produce per square foot of garden space. Not only are these yields higher than the USDA estimate for production yields through conventional farming, which are .60 pounds per square foot, but these gardeners also saved a considerable amount of money. Buying the same vegetables in the same quantities as those produced by the gardeners would have cost them $435 more than what they spent to bring their crops to harvest. The Extension researcher noted the importance of this kind of savings for gardeners living on low or fixed incomes, and those otherwise relying on SNAP benefits. The researcher also highlighted that participating gardeners were all experienced in growing their own food, so ensuring access to garden educational resources are critical for sharing the savings.