Saving green by growing your own produce

If the rising cost of fruits and vegetables at the grocery store has you seeing red, you might join many others going green.

Families are saving hundreds of dollars a year growing their own produce.


Urban Harvest is a nonprofit that provides community garden programming, farmers' markets, and gardening classes. Organizers say more people are reaching out to participate in community gardens and grow their own produce to save money.

Sharon Stinson, a long-time gardener, has a cornucopia of savings in every corner of her yard.

"I'm growing tomatoes in my driveway, and I’m growing blackberries in the back. And I just got my sweet potatoes in," she showed us.

Stinson grows so many fruits and vegetables year-round, she never has to buy produce.

"It gives us something to eat. Eggplant we eat a lot of. And it keeps us having to buy other things," she said.

She stores and gives away what she has left over.  

"Sometimes we’ll pickle it. Or can it, and then we’ve got it for a year or two. Or we will give it to friends and neighbors," Stinson told us.


Urban Harvest offers classes for adults and children on how to grow just about anything. The non-profit also manages more than 100 community gardens, farmer's markets, and mobile markets. They sell produce from local farmers for the same price they pay for it, and offer to teach shoppers how to maximize their purchases.  

"If you take that tomato, what can you do with it besides slice it and put it in a salad?  Can you boil it, take the skin off, purée it, turn it into something you put in the freezer?" said Executive Director Janna Roberson.

And they Double Up Food Bucks for shoppers who pay with EBT or SNAP benefits.

"You can buy ten dollars of eggs, bread, honey, meat, whatever your total is up to $40. We will give you fresh fruits and vegetables," explained Gabe Borja, Mobile Market Manager.


For home growers, Stinson says beginners can start small with a container or bucket.

"Just get some good soil and put it in that bucket and start growing," she said.

Urban Harvest offers free videos online on how to garden, as well as classes starting as low as $15, with some scholarships available.