New Display in USDA Headquarters People's Garden Encourages Visitors to Promote Pollinator Habitat and "Plant a Window Box for Pollinators"
WASHINGTON, June 17, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is celebrating National Pollinator Week, June 15-21, 2015, by hosting the 6th Annual Pollinator Festival from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, June 19, 2015, in conjunction with the weekly USDA Farmers Market. Festival visitors will be able to talk with pollinator experts, watch live bees and bats, and learn more about what they can do in their own backyard to help pollinators. More than 14 USDA agencies, federal departments and other partners are participating in the outdoor festival located next to USDA's Jamie L. Whitten Building at 12th and Independence Avenue, S.W., in Washington, D.C.
"Pollinators, such as bees, birds and other insects are essential partners for farmers and ranchers and help produce much of our food supply. More than three-fourths of the world's flowering plants rely on pollinators to reproduce, meaning pollinators help produce one out of every three bites of food Americans eat," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The upcoming Pollinator Festival is an opportunity to interact with USDA experts and partners to learn more about these important creatures and ways we can all work together to support their declining populations."
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees the Department's national People's Garden Initiative (PGI), which supports the Department's efforts as a member of the USDA Pollinator Working Group and the White House Pollinator Task Force. There are 2,115 registered People's Gardens across the country, including the USDA Headquarters People's Garden which is landscaped to include several pollinator gardens that support two beehives on the Whitten Building's roof. Viewers can watch activity in the beehives on a "bee cam" ( www.usda.gov/beewatch).
This year, a new display that encourages individuals to join the national "Plant a Window Box for Pollinators" effort has been added to the USDA Headquarters People's Garden.
"It's so easy to help pollinators, and we need to act now," said AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo. "Even a small garden, like a window box filled with native plants that bloom during the spring, summer, and fall, will make a difference for bees and other pollinators."
During the growing season, the USDA Headquarters People's Garden and the adjacent USDA Farmers Market together help educate patrons about the wide variety of fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products available in the Chesapeake Bay region. Visitors can walk through the garden and see pollinator-friendly plantings, as well as crops such as blueberries, asparagus and okra that are pollinated by bees, and then stroll through the adjacent USDA Farmers Market to purchase these fruits and vegetables.
More information about how to "Plant a Window Box for Pollinators," as well as other resources, including pollinator-friendly garden blogs and videos, is available at www.usda.gov/peoplesgarden.
Details about the USDA Farmers Market are at: www.usda.gov/FarmersMarket.
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