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The Italian People’s Garden Promotes Healthy Eating Habits Abroad

Rose Thorne assists the students in planting seedlings in the “Villa Taverna Orto.”

Rose Thorne assists the students in planting seedlings in the “Villa Taverna Orto.”

There is no question that Italy is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world and is celebrated for its fantastic food and beautiful scenery. Fresh produce and beautiful landscapes are often enveloped in beautiful gardens in the cities and along the countryside, delighting residents and tourists alike. The U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Rome recently unveiled the latest international “People’s Garden,” as part of the USDA’s initiative to teach people worldwide how to nurture, maintain and protect a healthy landscape.

In April, the U.S. Ambassador to Italy David H. Thorne and his wife Rose inaugurated “The Villa Taverna Orto” located in the gardens of the official Ambassador’s residence at Villa Taverna. ‘Orto’ is Italian for vegetable garden. This project was made possible thanks to the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office at the American Embassy in Rome. That office also organized a design competition with an Italian Agronomist high school, under the mentorship of the Rome Order of Doctors of Agronomy and Forestry. The students completed their designs February 2011, which were then reviewed by the Ambassador and Mrs. Thorne. The resulting Villa Taverna Orto highlights the best features of each project, while also including Italian indigenous species in accordance with the biodiversity program.

U.S. Ambassador to Italy David H. Thorne and his wife Rose, center, join local high school students to inaugurate the “Villa Taverna Orto.”

U.S. Ambassador to Italy David H. Thorne and his wife Rose, center, join local high school students to inaugurate the “Villa Taverna Orto.”

The garden provided the Ambassador and Mrs. Thorne the opportunity to highlight the importance of healthy eating habits at a time when obesity and diabetes have become an important health concern in both the United States and Italy.  Like Agriculture Secretary Vilsack’s “People’s Garden” and First Lady Michele Obama’s White House garden in Washington, D.C., The Villa Taverna Orto is a perfect example of how vegetable gardening can be an environmentally-friendly and healthy activity that promotes good eating habits.  It will be used year-round as a kitchen garden to provide seasonal produce for the Ambassador’s residence.

“Quality of life is closely linked to the food we eat,” said Ambassador Thorne. “Growing a natural garden and eating its products increases the awareness and importance of food to pass down to our children.”

People’s Gardens are sprouting up in countries around the world as well as counties throughout the United States. Learn more about the People’s Garden Initiative and locate a garden near you on the People’s Garden Interactive Map.

One Response to “The Italian People’s Garden Promotes Healthy Eating Habits Abroad”

  1. Eric Blanch says:

    I usually do not comment, however I looked at a few of the comments on this page USDA Blog » The Italian People’s Garden Promotes Healthy Eating Habits Abroad. I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or do a few of these responses appear like they are left by brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing on other social sites, I’d like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of all of your shared sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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