This week is National Community Gardening Week and USDA encourages you to do you part and connect with your community through gardening.
On Aug. 6, 2009, Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this proclamation and challenged every American to connect with the land, the food it provides, and their local communities. A community garden can be a great opportunity to educate everyone about community food supplies, whether food is a Farmers Market or a garden. A garden can be anywhere – in the country, a city or the suburbs – and can come in many forms, from one community plot to many individual plots.
As the Nation’s community garden, the People’s Garden showcases some of the ways that USDA engages Americans across the country every day. Every American should look for opportunities at home, at work, or at school to work in community gardening and to participate in the People’s Garden movement.
Today, Secretary Vilsack established a first-ever department-wide USDA volunteer program to encourage individuals to volunteer with the People’s Garden initiative. The People’s Garden, a USDA domestic and international initiative, helps illustrate the many ways that USDA works to provide a sustainable, safe and nutritious food supply while protecting and preserving the landscape where that food is produced.
Since May 21, USDA has harvested and donated more than 300 pounds of produce from the People’s Garden to the DC Central Kitchen, a non-profit which offers job training in culinary and food service skills to DC’s homeless.
The People’s Garden initiative incorporates sustainable practices to educate the public about practical ways to enhance and conserve land and water resources in the United States. It is designed to provide a sampling of USDA's efforts throughout the world as well as teach others how to nurture, maintain and protect a healthy landscape. The garden concepts that USDA is practicing serve as a living example of how to provide healthy food, air and water for people and communities as well as food and shelter for wildlife, while improving soil health and water quality.
With this in mind, the USDA volunteer program is yet another way for USDA to help further the People’s Garden and other initiatives. And with everyone’s help, USDA can make the Peoples' Garden a national demonstration plot, which will illustrate the many ways USDA works to conserve our resources and promote local food production.
So get involved; head over to our Facebook page and join the discussion about gardening, share your comment here or stop by the People's Garden next time you're in DC. Be sure to check out the People's Garden web site or the People's Garden Twitter feedfor the latest updates, harvests and events.