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Victory Gardens 2.0: Gardening in the Pandemic Era




The pandemic era has seen a resurgence of interest in growing, tending, and harvesting fruits and vegetables from one’s own patch of land or city balcony.

The more people are stuck at home — and the more concerned they become about their food supply — the more appealing gardening has become.

Panic buying and food shortages caused many people to rethink their reliance on supermarkets, with a desire to become more self-reliant,” Anne Gibson, organic gardening educator and owner of The Micro Gardener, explained to the E-Commerce Times.

“With many out of work, budget is also a factor. Being able to save money by growing your own food at home means there are no food miles or fuel to get to the supermarket, no food waste or packaging costs. Ingredients can be picked fresh straight from the garden and onto the table,” she added.

The fact that in the U.S. the pandemic stay-at-home orders began during the spring enticed people to experiment with growing things, in some cases for the first time.

“If there was ever something that motivates people to garden, it’s the combination of a lot of time on your hands and springtime,” Jamie Mattikow, president and chief executive officer for W. Atlee Burpee & Co., told the E-Commerce Times.

“When people were furloughed, or in some cases let go, they went home, and suddenly they’re living with their yard in a way they’ve never lived with it before. The days started getting longer on the 19th of March, and it couldn’t have been better timing. So suddenly people are seeing their yard come to life, and that motivates people to garden.”

Gardening for Security

Home gardening also offers a sense of security and independence. Even when the world has been upended, a home garden can provide a bit of food insurance.

“I’ve noticed a surge in interest from new gardeners wanting to be more sustainable and feel empowered to learn how to grow at least some of their own food at home,” said Gibson.

“Food security and avoiding crowds by doing something positive at home have been catalysts for this surge in interest, but people are also discovering that gardening is food for the soul. Getting your hands in the soil, breathing fresh air, outdoor exercise, sowing seeds and watching plants grow, as well as connecting with nature do wonders for mental and physical health, too.”

Many people are finding that gardening offers a way to take control of a situation that can sometimes feel chaotic and unpredictable.

“People have turned to gardening during the pandemic for a multitude of reasons,” Agatha Hannah, director of communications and programs for the Organic Growers School, told the E-Commerce Times.

“The run for seeds was paramount to the grab for toilet paper, and it was a reaction to the very real threat of scarcity. The consequences of our industrial agriculture model became immediately apparent, as we saw a restriction in the supply chain and shortages in staple foods.

“At the same time, gardening suddenly became tangible. It can be done on any scale, and with stay-at-home orders, people are finding the time to explore this activity that they’ve likely always wanted to try,” she explained.

Green Thumb Therapy

In addition to its practical benefits, gardening offers a variety of mental and emotional benefits during a time of chaos and uncertainty.

“We believe that gardening has many mental, health and environmental benefits,” Christie Kane, vice president of human resources & information technology for Gardener’s Supply Company, told the E-Commerce Times.

“Maintaining mental health during the COVID-19 crisis is imperative. Gardening gives people hope and hobby. Maintaining physical health is also important. The CDC is encouraging outdoor exercise, [and] gardening gets your body moving when the gym may not be an option.”

Gardening can also be a good ‘quality of life’ for the family activity, which has become important during the pandemic, as well.

“Gardening itself is a rewarding and joyful way to be active, to play with and to teach your children — a keen opportunity in the face of school closures — and to engage with the community by swapping knowledge, skills, and bountiful crops,” explained Hannah.

Home and Garden Renaissance

Since the garden is part of the home space in which people have been spending so much time, the rising interest in gardening has also been part of an increased focus on home-related activities more generally.

“Home and garden brands have seen huge surges in online sales during the pandemic, not least because shoppers have been at home looking at all the improvements they could be making,” Julia Fearn, vice president of customer success for Qubit, told the E-Commerce Times.

“Additionally, making your living space nicer has been an essential part of keeping people’s moods up while the ability to go out, see friends and family or even go on vacation has been prohibited.”

Much of the shopping for home and garden supplies has been done online in recent months, facilitated by both the fact that many people have been avoiding physical retail stores and also that they’re at home to take their e-commerce home and garden deliveries.

“The other factor perhaps at play, again attributed to the fact that shoppers are at home, is that everyone can take delivery of larger items with guarantees that they will be there when the item arrives,” said Fearn. “This has forever been a challenge for home and garden brands, and most things don’t fit in the mailbox. A shopper that is always at home is more at ease buying bigger items.”

Even alternative methods of gardening, such as aquaponics — which combines raising fish in tanks with growing plants in water — have seen a resurgence of interest.

“The pandemic has given a lot of people time to garden, if they aren’t working, and a chance to think more about our food system and whether or not the food and the quality of the food that a person wants is or will be available in the grocery store,” Rebecca L. Nelson, CEO and co-founder of aquaponics company Nelson and Pade, explained to the E-Commerce Times.

“Seeing just the beginning of food shortages made people realize that they can have more control of their own food by growing the things they like to eat. Traditional gardening has a lot of challenges that aquaponics does not.”

Aquaponics is a gardening technique that is well-suited to a pandemic, allowing people to raise both vegetables and fish for consumption.

“Aquaponics is a sustainable method of gardening that allows a person or business to grow fresh fish and vegetables, year-round,” said Nelson. “This is done without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. It is becoming more and more popular with gardeners who are looking for a supply of more than just vegetables. An aquaponic gardener can grow and harvest fresh fish as well an abundance of salad crops.”

Gardening for the Future

Perhaps most of all, gardening is a way to provide both sustenance and a sense of well-being.

“For many Americans, this was their first glimpse into a world where some basic needs aren’t automatically met, and it struck a chord that sparked a rise in interest in self-sufficiency,” said Hannah.

“Maybe you can’t produce your own toilet paper, but nearly anyone can grow at least a portion of their own food. Folks all over the country are realizing that gardening can be done at any scale — from pots of herbs in your window to container gardening on your patio, all the way to ripping up your lawn and filling it with productive beds or pots of vegetables and flowers.”

Though it started during the pandemic, the resurgence of interest in gardening might not wane after it’s over, since many people have discovered that they love the world of plants and growing.

“I think this trend is here to stay,” Hannah remarked. “The thrill of planting a seed and harvesting its fruit is deeply rewarding. Digging in the earth is tremendously therapeutic, and connecting with the soil microcosm that’s teeming with life is awe-inspiring and exciting. For most folks, it’s once a gardener, always a gardener.”

Vivian Wagner has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. Her main areas of focus are technology, business, CRM, e-commerce, privacy, security, arts, culture and diversity. She has extensive experience reporting on business and technology for a variety
of outlets, including The Atlantic, The Establishment and O, The Oprah Magazine. She holds a PhD in English with a specialty in modern American literature and culture. She received a first-place feature reporting award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and is the author of Women in Tech: 20 Trailblazers Share Their Journeys, published by ECT News Network in May 2020. Email Vivian.



Money Mailer Joins Capital One Spring Discount Platform for Small…




Your Ultimate Source For Local Savings!

Your Ultimate Source For Local Savings!

With Spring, we’re now able to extend our unique integrated solution consisting of a combination of digital and direct mail marketing channels, to the greater Main Street America. – Mike Mancini, CRO of Local Marketing Solutions Group, Inc, parent company of MoneyMailerUSA.

MoneyMailerUSA, Inc. (Money Mailer), a 40-year leader in full-service direct marketing and national distributor of local savings and deals, was tapped to participate in Capital One Spring, a growing online discounts platform developed by Capital One to provide meaningful discounts to small businesses on the things they purchase every day.

Money Mailer and Capital One are aligned to help small businesses by offering differentiated discounts and passing the savings on to businesses that typically pay full retail prices. Spring is free for everyone, and members don’t need to be Capital One customers to take advantage of the discounts. The deals on Spring are constantly updated and curated especially for small businesses by Capital One procurement experts.

Money Mailer is delighted to participate in Spring and bring meaningful savings on local marketing services to small businesses when they need it most. Spring members can save 50% off a Money Mailer multi-channel marketing campaign, aimed at providing the utmost in local appeal, a strategic move during a critical time for small business owners.

“Our specialty for the past 40 years has been executing marketing campaigns directly to the consumer’s mailbox, and for the past 20 years, focusing on supporting the consumer demand that Money Mailer creates through a fully-integrated, digital marketing program. Now with Spring, we get to deliver that same dynamic to more businesses than ever before,” said Tom Baber, CEO of MoneyMailerUSA, Inc.

The partnership with Spring could not be more perfect as its debut comes at a time when Money Mailer has been implementing their “SAVE local” campaign, consisting of unique, out-of-the-box programs, all designed to support small business owners during their pursuit of reactivating operations. Its mission, similar to Spring, is simple – provide small business owners with unprecedented advertising incentives to help them communicate with consumers in an affordable way.

“We’re excited and fully supportive of our new relationship with Capital One,” said Mike Mancini, CRO of Local Marketing Solutions Group, Inc, parent company of MoneyMailerUSA. “We have aligned values and a common goal … to help small businesses thrive across the nation. With Spring, we’re now able to extend our unique integrated solution consisting of a combination of digital and direct mail marketing channels, to the greater Main Street America.”

As a result of Money Mailer and Capital One Spring, businesses can once again market their business to local customers, but with the peace of mind of an affordable and proven multi-channel marketing solution.

To learn more about Money Mailer’s integrated suite of marketing products and solutions, visit



Money Mailer is a leader in the U.S. direct marketing industry, has been certified for 12 consecutive years as a World-Class Franchise by the Franchise Research Institute and was Entrepreneur Magazine’s #1 Business Services/Advertising Services franchise in 2016. Money Mailer delivers hyper-local savings to consumers through shared direct mail, postcard solo mail, mobile, online email and social media, and helps businesses affordably and accurately reach these consumers. For more information, visit


Local Marketing Solutions Group, Inc. ( was recently named for the third consecutive year to the annual Inc. 5000. It was formed in 2012 by the executive management team of JGSullivan Interactive Inc. The purpose of the holding company is to continue the expansion of offering the broadest and most efficient marketing and sales solutions to national and international brands that drive revenue through local sales and marketing channels. The company provides marketing automation technology and supporting sales and marketing services capabilities, allowing corporate sales and marketing to control brand image and to ultimately facilitate use of product and service content and materials from national to local channels. Corporate brands include JGSullivan Interactive (Chicago, IL), DuFour Advertising (Sheboygan, WI), KMA One (Atlanta, GA), Webly Guys (Chicago, IL), Godwin (Jackson, MS), Target Marketing (Florence, KY), and Money Mailer (Chicago, IL).

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Embodee Announces Beta Availability of New Web Platform for 3D Fashion…




3D assets are easy to navigate, view, and revise — all in one place

The platform maximizes the benefits of high-impact 3D virtual products

. . . we’ve developed a highly visual online platform that effortlessly connects people and systems, enabling companies to go from creation to sales faster while simultaneously cutting waste and inefficiencies.— CEO André Wolper

Embodee, a leader in creating virtual renderings of 3D apparel and footwear, has moved a big step closer to launching a 3D web platform that integrates nearly all aspects of digital product creation. The platform will accelerate the development, launch, and sales of fashion collections by enabling online collaboration and sharing anytime, anywhere.

After achieving key milestones last month, the Orchids platform has entered the beta phase of final development and is scheduled for full release in the coming months. (Fashion brands, retailers, and suppliers can contact us to join an early access group or to receive a demo.)

The platform maximizes the benefits of high-impact 3D virtual products as online shopping surges because of the pandemic. It eliminates barriers that have kept brands from working efficiently and effectively with 3D products and assets.

“With increasingly broad 3D adoption in the industry, we saw the growing need for companies to get more out of their 3D product creation investments,” said Embodee CEO André Wolper. “As a result, we’ve developed a highly visual online platform that effortlessly connects people and systems, enabling companies to go from creation to sales faster while simultaneously cutting waste and inefficiencies.”

In development for over two years, the platform expands the company’s 12-year mission of encouraging the industry to embrace the digital age. The company’s focus had been creating dynamically rendered 3D images of apparel and footwear for brands and retailers offering online customization.

Among the Orchids platform’s many easy-to-use features is web-browser access to 3D assets and interactive collaboration throughout an organization and with other parties, such as vendors and product lifecycle management systems. The platform, which does not require licensing or installing software, has been validated and refined through early use by select apparel companies.

Last month, the platform achieved a significant milestone with the addition of many new capabilities. These include fluidly rotating 3D product renders, viewing products from any angle in varied lighting conditions, and downloading product imagery in stunning 4K resolution. Another key addition was access to more than 20,000 digital materials from the library of swatchbook. This new Embodee partner specializes in organization, visualization, and sourcing of real-world digital materials.

The Orchids platform features a dashboard that organizes 3D assets so they’re easy to navigate, view, and revise — all in one place and always accessible from the cloud. Non-technical staff can create interactive assortments directly from the 3D products. They can even refine 3D artists’ initial designs by easily applying color changes and creating variances, all from a centralized library of colors, textures, materials, fonts, and graphics.

Embodee will preview the platform’s upcoming beta release today and Tuesday at a virtual conference, PI Apparel Europe 2020.

About Embodee

Founded in 2008, Embodee helps the fashion industry develop 3D virtual products more efficiently and collaboratively to reduce costs and increase sales for both online and physical stores. Its on-demand renderings of 3D products are unsurpassed in visual quality and interactivity. The company is headquartered in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and has employees across the United States and Europe.

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Softtek and MENU Technologies Announce Strategic Partnership




News Image

MENU has gained the trust of some of the world’s largest QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) brands for its innovative omnichannel restaurant self-service technology, turning digital order and pay into a convenient and engaging experience for restaurants and their customers

Softtek, a global company dedicated to helping organizations evolve through digital technology, announced today it has entered into a strategic partnership with MENU to enable a state-of-the-art restaurant ecommerce platform to enhance customer journey and provide seamless digital self-service.

“MENU has gained the trust of some of the world’s largest QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) brands for its innovative omnichannel restaurant self-service technology, turning digital order and pay into a convenient and engaging experience for restaurants and their customers,” said Ricardo Gonzalez, industry managing director for Restaurant & Hospitality sectors at Softtek.

The fully integrated platform enables ecommerce for restaurants by personalizing data across all order & pay channels, so that restaurant brands are able to engage with their customers in completely new ways for significantly higher return visits, while the average ticket size increases up to 30% due to a variety of upsell and cross-sell features. This partnership will provide constant innovation with smooth and fast solution to boost restaurant brand loyalty and revenue.

“We are pleased that Softtek, one of the largest technology service providers in the world serving large restaurant brands, realized the strong value proposition MENU’s omnichannel order and engagement solution brings to restaurants worldwide. We look forward to working in close collaboration with Softtek and helping restaurants in the US and Latin America optimize their business with our innovative technology,” said Karl Heinz Koch, Co-founder and CEO of MENU Technologies.

To learn more about the functionality of MENU and success stories, visit

For more information on Softtek’s capabilities and solutions for restaurants, visit:

About MENU
MENU enables ecommerce for restaurant brands by offering fully integrated omnichannel digital order and engagement solutions in restaurants’ branding. MENU’s modular restaurant ecosystem covers all order types from dine-in, takeout, drive-thru to delivery and curbside. It offers direct order and engagement channels: mobile, web, kiosk, digital menu boards and connects to external channels, such as delivery aggregators, Google, social media channels as well as POS systems. All these customer interfaces are managed from one central data hub, that also has a built-in coupon, rewards and loyalty program, that can be used across all the ecosystem channels. MENU also integrates with a numerous payment processors, delivery and dispatching service providers, analytic tools and automated CRM-marketing apps. MENU is certified by ultra-large restaurant brands and has a growing number of successfully implemented solutions in various markets in Europe and the Americas.

About Softtek:
Founded in 1982, Softtek is a global company and the largest provider of IT services from Latin America. With a broad portfolio of business-transforming products and solutions, Softtek helps Global 2000 organizations evolve their digital capabilities constantly and seamlessly, from ideation and development to execution. Learn how Softtek creates value through technology at and connect with @Softtek in social media.

For more information, contact:

Karen Liedl


(For MENU Technologies) Jolanta Kavale


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