Would you pay someone to tend your vegetable garden so that you can eat greener? This New York Times article details the trend of becoming a locavore (someone who eats only food that has been grown locally, cutting out the environmental effects of transportation) by proxy. This means that you'd pay someone to plant your vegetable garden, go to the farmers' market for you, and even cook your organic meals, free of "food miles." Becoming a locavore is an expensive trend, since farmers' market food can be pricier than supermarket fare, and some doubt that food miles have as bad of an impact as we fear. But it's as trendy as a shiny new iPhone.
But the Times article didn't delve far enough into the issue. First of all, what about the pleasures of gardening? Proponents of gardening, whether for a community or an individual, say that the social aspects of gardening are as important as the produce. Sharing extra zucchini with neighbors or making small talk at the soccer game about how the tomatoes are turning out this year is a part of gardening that's lost when hired help is doing the harvesting for you. And while someone else is breathing in the fresh air of your backyard and digging his or her hands into the soil (gardening can be great exercise), you might be in a fluorescent-lit cubicle.
That's the point for some customers of MyFarm, the business featured in the story, who hire a vegetable gardener specifically so they don't have to get their hands dirty. The story didn't mention the price: Gardeners for hire charge between $600 and $1,000 for the initial installation of their vegetable patch and then $20 to $30 a week for maintenance.
The Times' Dot Earth blog also points out that this trend is creating green-collar jobs. That may be the case, but it's also making idle hands out of burgeoning green thumbs.