Nurseries helping meet food security need amid pandemic

What many are discovering is that food security could be playing a role in the influx of business that garden centers and nurseries are receiving.

Posted: Apr 12, 2020 6:44 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2020 6:50 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Many businesses have been forced to shut down during this time, but according to the Oregon Association of Nurseries, Governor Brown’s order does allow wholesale and retail nurseries to remain open.


What many are discovering is that food security could be playing a role in the influx of business that garden centers and nurseries are receiving.

Stuart Leaton is the general manager of Gray’s Garden Center. He said that there are tight protocols in place to keep everyone safe. This includes reminding customers to practice social distancing and training staff on how to operate during the pandemic.

“We all have plenty of time right now, so we can give each other the distance that we need,” Leaton said. “We don't need to be in a hurry or in a rush.”

Leaton said that he has noticed the influx over the past few weeks and said that edible crops have been a trend.

“When you grow your own crops, you know how you’ve treated them and what you’ve put on them -- fresher flavors, longer lasting.”

Gray’s Garden Center will be celebrating their 80th anniversary this year.

“Our hope and goal is is that we are here providing something for the community whether it’s spots of color or things people can do in the yard,” Leaton said. “We’re providing edible crops. After our longtime in the community, it’s really just what we can do to help those people in the time of the quarantine.”

Michael Kaszycki is the owner of Fox Hollow Creek Nursery in Eugene and said he has noticed an influx in business over the past few weeks.

“This is the one grounding thing that people can do,” Kaszycki said. “They can go outside and start gardens. They want food security and they also want to be grounded by doing something they can actually control.”

Kaszycki said that he reminds his customers to practice social distancing when they arrive. He said that he is “blessed” to remain open.

“People have a lot of things in their life that they’re not controlling anymore,” Kaszycki said. “The gardening is a grounding. You’re growing healthy food. You’re growing beautiful flowers. You can do it alone it the backyard. It’s just pleasing to this whole thing going on.”

Jordan K. Walker and Emily Poole are both gardeners and are preparing their gardens for Spring.

“Now that people are wanting to avoid grocery stores - growing your own food seems like a safe option,” Poole said. “Luckily we’ve been able to do it for a little bit.”

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