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Coronavirus Update: More People Growing 'Victory Gardens' For Food And Stress Relief

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Food continues to fly off grocery store shelves across the Tri-State Area, with no end in sight.

So, many are taking control by growing their own.

During times of panic and uncertainty, people like to feel in control of something, and many are seeking that power in food.

New Jersey farmer Nate Kleinman of the Experimental Farm Network says the ability to grow your own crops can alleviate stress and anxiety.


"If you start a garden now, in the next month or so, you can grow enough food in a large backyard to really support your family and make it so that you don't have to go to the grocery store every week. You can be canning food, drying foods, freezing foods." Kleinman said.

It's a movement that dates back to World War I called "victory gardens." People were encouraged to grow their own crops to prevent food insecurity. It was mostly forgotten about until recently, when panic caused grocery store shelves to go bare.

Fellow New Jersey resident Erin Eckert says gardening provides her with an additional sense of security. Plus, the therapeutic aspect of it can't be overlooked.

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"I feel like it's meditative. You're outside, you're in the dirt, you can smell everything around you, the birds are chirping. Even if it's raining it's nice to get out there," Eckert said.

Eckert isn't the only one seeking comfort in growing her own food. Kleinman is encouraging thousands to join his nonprofit Experimental Farm Network's Coronavirus Victory Gardens. The movement, rebranded as Cooperative Gardens Commission, is helping first-time farmers feed their families and neighbors.

New York City resident Jacqueline Pilati is helping expand that cause to New Yorkers who don't always have the luxury of space.

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"If you have a windowsill, you can definitely do things like herbs and leafy greens that will do well inside. If you get a grow light you can expand your options in which you can grow indoors." Pilati said.

The trend is, however, causing seeds to fly off the shelves of local nurseries. Kleinman says many distributors are struggling to keep up with demand.

Charlie's Nursery and Garden Center, another New Jersey business, told CBS2 coronavirus anxiety, coupled with warm weather, made for a busier than normal March.

The most popular seeds? Kale, squash corn, among other calorie-rich staple crops.

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