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national planting day

The Cotton Patch – Where Innovation and Teamwork Fuel Growth

It’s amazing what can happen when you combine a great idea, commitment to community, love of agriculture, fresh air, good earth, and energized volunteers.  In the Cotton and Tobacco Programs, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, we found this to be the perfect combination to cultivate our own People’s Garden – the Cotton Patch.

The People’s Garden initiative brings USDA employees and more than 700 local and national organizations together to create community and school gardens inspiring locally-led solutions to some of the challenges facing our country – from hunger to the environment.

Here in Memphis, creating the Cotton Patch was a collaborative series of fortunate events that began when employees from our local office requested to overhaul the facility’s landscaping and create our own People’s Garden.

Make It Fun!

As fall was quickly turning into winter, we chose a brisk day in early November to close out gardening season with all of the students at Powell Elementary. Together, along with staff from the NHL’s Washington Capitals and USDA Executive Master Gardeners, we organized a harvest and “Salad Party” so all grades could pick ingredients for and create a salad with what they’d grown. We also used this day to maintain the Habitat Garden in the form of weeding, planting natives, mulching, and rebuilding paths. We were successful in both activities, putting the Habitat Garden “to bed” in celebration of Keep America Beautiful’s National Planting Day, and throwing one heck of a salad party.

Garden with Native Plant Species on National Planting Day

The People’s Garden Initiative and Keep America Beautiful are asking Americans to join us in supporting local ecosystems by planting species native to their area this fall. The first ever National Planting Day will take place on Saturday, September 8 and will continue with activities happening through November 30.