A couple days ago, I reported the results from the Food Demand Survey (FooDS) for March 2017. In addition to a typical question we ask every month "Have you ever worked on a farm or ranch?", we added a new follow up question, "Which of the following best describes the kind of farm you worked on? (Check all that apply)."
As I reported then, about 17% of people said yes to the first question. Of this 17%, about 38% followed it up by saying the type of farm was a "garden in your backyard", 23% said "A chicken coop in your backyard" and 12% said "a community garden". I received some Twitter questions and reaction to the results.
Here's one vein of reaction:
Of course, this is exactly what we wanted to know: who are the people checking "yes" to this question and what do they (not us) consider farm or ranch work?
A more substantive question was this one:
The answer is "yes". This was a "check all that apply" question and a lot of commodity crop and livestock farms also have backyard gardens and chickens. To get at this issue more directly, I went back to the data and looked at the 17% who said "yes" they had worked on a farm and ranch and looked at the percent of respondents who said they had a backyard garden (or chicken coop or community garden) but did NOT check “A farm that produces commodity crops (e.g. corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, or rice)” or “A farm that produces commercial livestock (e.g. cattle, swine, or poultry).”
Here are the results: of the 17% who said they'd worked on a farm or ranch: 4.7% indicated working in a community garden but NOT a commodity crop or livestock operation, 12.2% indicated they worked in a garden in their backyard but NOT in commodity crop or livestock operation, and 7.5% said they had a chicken coop in their backyard but had NOT worked in a commodity crop or livestock operation.