SEATTLE - It appears the plummeting economy could be leading to the growth of a true "growth" industry.
Magnolia resident Ray Schutte turns seventy this year, but his favorite past time is the same one he's nurtured since he was three years old -- gardening. He still remembers his very first crop was peas.
"I remember that I had an uncle that told me if I pulled on the peas, they'd grow faster," said Schutte. "Destroyed my pea crop. I do remember that."
But now, gardening at the Interbay P-Patch, where members of the public rent plots of soil, has become a family passion that keeps fresh, organic food on his table year round. "I have yet to buy a green, a salad green, in the super market for the last 12 months" he boasts.
Watering fees and the community tools are covered in the annual fee, which can range from $34 to $67, depending on the size of the plot. For most families, that's less than the cost of a single visit to the grocery store.
Recently, interest in the Seattle P-Patches has nearly doubled - with the about 400 new people joining the waitlist in since late October.
Rich MacDonald, the program supervisor says he hopes economic fears are not the only driving force, but adds the heightened interest is healthy. "More attention on growing your own food, on knowing where your food is coming from, on greening up enormous parts of our city, there's a lot of potential. That's all a good thing."