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Help Start a People’s Garden in Your Community

Help Start a People’s Garden in Your Community

Many sustainable food advocates might not be sure what to make of the Obama Administration’s food and agriculture decisions and appointments, but some of the strategies underway are clearly focused on locally and organically grown produce and less focused on traditional, production agriculture.

For example, organic expert Kathleen Merrigan was appointed as USDA Deputy Secretary and created the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative.

Also, the USDA introduced more organic gardens through the People’s Garden initiative, an effort encouraging employees to establish People’s Gardens at USDA facilities worldwide.

Why the term People’s Garden? When Abraham Lincoln founded the USDA in 1862, he referred to it as “The People’s Department.” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack broke ground on the People’s Garden at USDA Headquarters on February 12, 2009, the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birthday as a way of demonstrating that the USDA still sees itself in that role.

Now, the USDA is hoping to expand this effort and is encouraging all Americans to join in the initiative, The People’s Garden: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities, and plant a garden in their own community.

As the USDA points out, a People’s Garden benefits the community, is sustainable and is a community-based effort.

Growing a community garden promotes health and wellness, provides a place for leisure, provides food for those in need, creates wildlife habitats, storm water control or water quality improvement, and provides teaching opportunities.

The garden should incorporate sustainable practices that maintain and protect the environment. Ideally, it should include native plants, composting and mulching, a rainwater harvesting system, and beneficial insects.

Finally, a People’s Garden should be community based–a collaboration between volunteers, neighbors or organizations within your community. The initiative encourages gardens in any vacant lot, schools, churches and other community areas.

To find out more information on how to start a People’s Garden visit the web site or follow them on Twitter at, where they have been tweeting the past month about creating more People’s Gardens.

Read more: Community, Community Service, Do Good, Green, Life, Nature, Outdoor Activities, , , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.


+ add your own
4:24AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

Thanks for the article.

8:10AM PST on Jan 17, 2012

"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food." Hippocrates
we must light up the darkness for knowledge is not power its empowering lets all be empowered to change. life has value beyond measure
Peace and Love

9:53AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Gardens grow more than just vegetables and fruits. Gardens also grow friendshhips, families and the community.

7:04PM PST on Jan 26, 2011

I wasw also thinking this would be a way for me to get involved. Did anyone find any actual useful information on starting a community garden on the website or in the article? Unfortunately, I di not.

7:51AM PDT on Mar 17, 2010

This just might be the idea I have been looking for to get involved and invested in our new community! Thank you!

2:16PM PDT on Mar 14, 2010

A community garden is a great idea. A community garden with rain barrels and a water recyling system is an even better idea.

I wish we could have community gardens here in Hawaii. Starting a community garden will require the cooperation of influential and sponsoring entities. This is the problem I feel I may encounter. Any suggestions?

2:51AM PST on Mar 13, 2010

Thank you. I have been trying to think of something to do for my area to help the community get greener. I will try this.

12:40AM PST on Mar 12, 2010

thanks for the post

12:36AM PST on Mar 12, 2010

thanks for the post

12:36AM PST on Mar 12, 2010

great idea

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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