Some signs of the trend:
• Stockpiling. When the stock market drops, orders surge for freeze-dried food, survival kits and emergency supplies, says Nitro-Pak president Harry Weyandt. One best seller: a $3,375 food reserve that feeds four people for three months.
• Gardening. Sales of vegetable seeds and transplants are up 30% from 2008 at W. Atlee Burpee, the USA’s largest seed company. The National Gardening Association says 7 million more households will grow food this year than in 2008 — a 19% rise. A book on building root cellars is the top seller at Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow, Maine, supervisor Joann Matuzas says.
• Canning. Jarden Corp. says sales of its Ball and Kerr canning and preserving products are up more than 30% from 2008. Sonya Staffan, owner of The Jam and Jelly Lady commercial cannery in Lebanon, Ohio, is offering twice as many classes this year.
• Sewing. More people are learning to sew so they can mend clothes and make home décor, says Rachel Cohen, spokeswoman for SVP Worldwide, owner of sewing-products makers Singer and Husqvarna Viking.
• Relocating. Steve Saltman, general manager of LandAndFarm.com, a national real estate company, says more customers want to “live simply in a less-expensive place.” Jonathan Rawles of SurvivalRealty.com says more people moving to rural areas “are specifically worried about economic and social instability.”