Gardening is not going to save Americans from the ravages of the recession. It might help a bit, give some folks some relaxation and some veggies, but it isn't going to haul us out of the recession.
This message was brought to you by a couple of twits in Safeways yesterday. Apparently twit A had put in an "huge" garden (almost 10 x 12) and was explaining to twit B how soon the aforementioned garden would "cut her grocery bill in half".
What a garden is going to do for most folks is begin the process of paying "sweat tuition" on becoming less attached to the corporate teat. It will teach you which plants grow well in your area, what amount of weeding needs to be done, soil conditions will be addressed, etc., etc, etc.
Unless you have a huge garden and excellent skills, or are John Jeavons you are not going to harvest much over 200 pounds or so out of the average garden. Most of us aren't that good of gardeners. But what you are doing is learning how your plants grow and how to deal with them. That is best done by starting small and working up.
So, get thee back to school in your yard. Learn what grows and what doesn't. If you have been gardening for a bit, see it you can increase the size and efficiency of your plots.
And pray that you have a while before the process becomes truly necessary.