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USDA Headquarter People’s Garden and USDA Farmers Market

The garden located on the corner of Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, S.W., Washington D.C. educates the public about sustainable gardening practices. The garden showcases food grown in containers for small urban spaces, raised beds for community plots, and fruit trees.

People's Garden at USDA Headquarters map

Meet the People’s Gardeners at USDA Headquarters

Natalie Howe, USDA Plant Materials Center Manager
Natalie’s team at the Plant Materials Center conducts research that helps gardeners, farmers, and ranchers manage their lands to benefit soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat. The Plant Materials Center oversees the management of the Headquarters People’s Garden.

Natalie Howe, USDA Plant Materials Center Manager


There are a variety of volunteer activities at the Headquarters People’s Garden, including:

Gardening clothing recommended

Any clothing

  • Planting fruits, vegetables and flowers
  • General garden cleanup and weeding
  • Maintaining vermicompost bins

(Gardening gloves and tools will provided)

  • Filling seed packets
  • Compost Ambassador, training provided (only USDA Farmers Market days, Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June 2 – September 29)
  • People’s Garden Ambassador, training provided
  • Engaging with visitors, educating about USDA programs and career opportunities

Interested in volunteering? Sign-up for email updates on the latest volunteer schedule by completing the USDA Headquarters People’s Garden Volunteer Interest List.

  • Where: HQ People's Garden, 12th St SW, Washington, DC 20560
  • When:
    • Thursday, June 6th, 10-noon
    • Friday, June 14th, 10-noon
    • Friday, June 21st, 10-noon
    • Friday, June 28th, 10-noon
    • Wednesday, July 3rd, 10-noon
    • Friday, July 12th, 10-noon
    • Wednesday, July 17th, 10-noon
    • Friday, July 26th, 10-noon

Visit the USDA Farmers Market on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (May through October) to sample local produce and prepared foods.




VegU logo

VegU is a popular 10-minute weekly class that teaches how to grow, pick, prepare, and store different fruits and vegetables. Get VegUcated!




Honeybee Hives on the Rooftop of the Whitten Building

You may be surprised that we have beehives on the rooftop of the USDA Whitten building! Learn more about the People's Garden Apiary.

Learn more about pollinators.

What’s Growing?


Our tool shed was built from wood repurposed from fallen urban trees in the city. It is topped with a green roof, which was constructed with soil and plants. Learn more about using reclaimed materials in this blog and the work the U.S. Forest Service is doing to transform “waste” wood.

Our vermicomposting area helps us divert food scraps and garden trimmings from the landfill. Learn more about how the worms do the work for us!


Food produced in the USDA Headquarters Garden is donated to D.C. Central Kitchen and Food Rescue US - DC.

D.C. Central Kitchen logo

The mission of D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK) is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. The iconic nonprofit and social enterprise combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation, providing hands-on culinary job training for individuals facing barriers to employment while creating living wage jobs and bringing nutritious food where it is most needed. DCCK’s social ventures include serving scratch-cooked farm-to-school meals in DC schools, delivering fresh, affordable produce to corner stores in neighborhoods without supermarkets, and operating a fast-casual cafe.

Food Rescue US logo

"Be the Rescue” is the simple motto of Food Rescue US. Their volunteers pick-up excess healthy food from local food donors then deliver it directly to local social service agencies that feed the food insecure. It goes like this -- local food donors (e.g., grocers, restaurants, caterers, farmers’ markets, corporations, etc.) register available fresh food via an online tool. Next, local social service agencies (soup kitchens, shelters, veterans service facilities, etc.) respond with their food needs and details for delivery. Finally, local volunteers use the app to sign up for a “food rescue” and schedule the pickup and delivery.