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.


William C
William Cabout a year ago


W. C
W. Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

KS Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Micheal Moffat
Past Member 6 years ago

"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

Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec7 years ago

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

Elizabeth S.
Elizabeth S7 years ago

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.

Kim Rowe
Kim Rowe8 years ago

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

Pauline Chinen
Pauline C8 years ago

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?

Ashley F.
Ashley F8 years ago

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.

Linda M.
Linda M8 years ago

thanks for the post