The People’s Garden Starts at the USDA


Last fall, Bill and I made a trip to Washington, D.C. where I was on a mission to visit the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). After all, I receive email alerts directly from this governmental entity, so I wanted to check it out first-hand.

After verifying there is, indeed, a garden on the White House lawn, we headed over to this block-or-two-long monstrosity of a Federal style building.

But before going inside, I just had to check out the People’s Garden.

The People’s Garden is actually an initiative that designates a plot of land located on federally owned or leased property at schools, faith-based centers, and other places within the community. The USDA challenges its employees to establish People’s Gardens at USDA facilities worldwide or help communities create gardens for the benefit of the community and the environment.

People’s Gardens provide fresh fruits and vegetables for those in need, as well as native trees, shrubs and flowers for wildlife. The gardens follow sustainable landscape practices that nurture, maintain, and protect the health of our soil, water, and air.

According to the USDA Blog, it’s a movement that started with one garden and spread to 1,241 People’s Gardens in all 50 states, two U.S. territories, and three foreign countries. Check out this video showing how the initiative began:

By partnering with schools, the People’s Garden initiative helps  young people learn how to grow, tend, harvest and prepare nutritious seasonal produce in the educational settings of the classroom, the garden, the kitchen, the school cafeteria and the home.

And, it shows how the simple act of planting a garden can make real and lasting change to improve food access and promote healthy lifestyles in communities with highest risk and greatest need.

It really was impressive to see this plot of land, next to this mammoth Washington, D.C. structure, with plants I’d put in my own little garden plot at home in Michigan.

Isn’t it good inspiration for spring planting?

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