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Your Back Yard Could Be "Seed" Of Valuable Asset

Friday, 25 Apr 2008 | 12:04 PM ET
Tomato Plant
Robstephaustralia
Tomato Plant

It makes a whole lot of sense. When food prices soar, seed sales begin to grow. Harold Stone is hearing it from a whole new crop of gardeners at a Washington, DC community garden that he runs. “Food is just becoming astronomical and they really want to get an edge on that and be able to create some of their own food.”

Last year Stone couldn’t fill the 90 plots of his little urban landscape; this year he’s at capacity, and he’s in on the game as well, catering the varieties of his own crops to local prices: “Everything that I’m growing now I’m growing because of higher food prices.”

That means big rewards for seed companies, like W. Atlee Burpee, based just outside Philadelphia, PA. “We’ve seen just an enormous jump in seed sales, and plant sales, both in our mail order and in our Internet her at Burpee,” says George Ball, Burpee’s President.

And the company, which has been around for a century, has seen it before. “During the depression years for example, there was an enormous increase in vegetable gardens,” says Ball.

Some seed sellers in Maine are seeing a 25 percent bump in sales already, as the season kicks off. Some are actually selling out. Back in DC, Harold Stone says he’s seeing a whole new type of gardener, instead of the older retirees, it’s now young professionals, trying to make ends meet.

So while many of you bemoan the values of your homes, remember, today your backyard could be your property’s most valuable asset.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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