So, my theory is that everybody should grow a little food in the yard: Take a little pressure off the world's limited arable land, cut greenhouse gas emissions, eat better quality food in terms of both nutrients and flavor, and enjoy the miracle. No big deal on the cost side, huge returns.
Admittedly, however, after 20 years, my own backyard vegetable garden is a little out of step with the populism of my ideas. In fact, it is a hothouse of esoteric experimentation. I order my seeds from catalogs that offer the weird and the wonderful. I'm fussy about certain varieties and then take wild fliers on others. I don't want the seeds labelled "Swiss Chard," I want the special Italian chard with tiny white ribs. I plant things just for the sake of comparison. I plant things I may not even care about cooking. I am a mad scientist.
Still, I don't have infinite reserves of imagination and time, and for the elementary school garden I do, I buy seeds in a local store. And sometimes even a mad scientist forgets to order one of life's key ingredients from the catalog–cilantro!–and it's a big relief when the Big Box store has plenty.
This week, I was super-delighted to see the enormous rack of Burpee's seeds in Lowe's. And even more delighted to see that a big portion of those seeds are organic. And pretty surprised at the incredibly low prices of even the organic seed–most stuff is under $2 a package.
I bought lots.