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What is a People’s Garden?

See what’s growing in our Washington, D.C. People’s Garden at USDA Headquarters and learn more about People’s Gardens at each of our 17 Urban Hubs, and sign up your local garden today!

People’s Gardens empower communities to participate in local food production and provide diversity and resiliency to the food supply chain. They also teach about the benefits of sustainable, local agriculture and how gardening can foster community collaboration, provide green gathering spaces, and benefit the environment.

People’s Gardens are different sizes and types based on the needs of the community. School gardens, community gardens, urban farms, and small-scale agriculture projects in rural and urban areas can be recognized as a “People’s Garden” if they:

  1. Benefit the community by providing food, beautification, wildlife habitat, education site, etc.
  2. Are a collaborative effort. This can include groups working together with USDA agencies, food banks, Girl Scouts, Master Gardeners, conservation districts, etc.
  3. Incorporate sustainable practices, such as using native plant species, rain barrels, integrated pest management, xeriscaping.
  4. Educate the public about sustainable gardening practices and the importance of local, diverse sources of healthy food.

People’s Gardens can be located on federally owned or leased property, at schools, faith-based centers and other places within the community. They cannot be located at private residences. People’s Gardens are different sizes and types based on the needs of the community, such as improving access to fresh food or planting milkweed and nectar sources for Monarchs and other butterflies.

People’s gardens can take many different forms:

Food Gardens

Grow food indoors or outside to increase access and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in urban and rural areas. Don’t forget to donate excess food to a local food pantry.

Wildlife Habitat

Provide food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young. Increase the number of pollinators in your area by making conscious choices to include plants that provide essential habitat for bees, bats, butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

Conservation Project

Demonstrate the value of conserving soil, water, air and other natural resources by gardening in a way that prevents erosion, maintains and enhances soil quality, and improves water quality and quantity.

Beautification

Plant a green, beautiful place for your community to gather, enjoy and reflect. Rethink the planting of seasonal annuals and instead design a space with native species of flowering plants to enhance the biodiversity of your community and build a healthier ecosystem.

Education and Training

Teach the next generation of gardeners and hold mini classes like GardenU. Many gardens align garden activities to lessons and subjects being taught in the classroom. Gardens can also be used to offer job training and apprenticeships in forestry, agriculture, landscaping, and culinary arts to those experiencing barriers to employment so they can find and keep a good job.

Gardening tips from University of Maryland Extension