Some in the industry call it "recession gardening." Dick Zontag, President of Wisconsin-based Jung's Seeds, says there's been a big increase in the sale of all edible crops. There appears to be a correlation. Zontag says when he started with the company in the 1970's, during a recession, vegetable gardening was popular, however as the economy improved fewer people gardened.
The National Gardeners Association says an estimated seven million more households plan to grow their own food this year, a 19% increase. Zontag says they've seen a 10-15% increase in the number of orders and the dollars volume within those orders than in previous years.
It's estimated one pack of seeds can produce $50 worth of vegetables, plus there are other benefits which includes good exercise and the freshest produce possible.
If you're getting into gardening this year, Zontag's best advice is to start small. Big gardens can lead to big workloads, and that can lead to discouragement. Local Extension offices are a great place to find gardening help.