Cross posted from the Let’s Move! blog:
In his opening remarks at this season’s first Department of Agriculture Farmers Market, held adjacent to our headquarters on the National Mall, Secretary Vilsack spoke about the national movement to rebuild our rural economy and connect urban communities with America’s farmers. The market—a bustle of activity with a crowd of shoppers purchasing produce, homemade preserves, and artisanal bread—was a festive celebration of that movement, but not the only attraction of the day!
On display next to the market is USDA’s own People’s Garden. It is one of 1,350 such gardens around the country that marks a national effort by USDA employees and partners to create healthy community and school gardens that are collaborative, benefit the local community and incorporate sustainable gardening practices.
Children from local Powell Elementary, a school adopted by the People’s Garden Initiative, were honored guests at the market kick-off. With the guidance of staff and volunteers, they explored the maze of raised beds filled with vegetables and herbs and shopped in the market for ingredients to make salsa. They dug for worms in the new children’s area and planted sunflowers to take home. Also on location was a USDA and People’s Garden partner, the Truck Farm, a new initiative of DC Central Kitchen. Like other Truck Farms around the country, this trusty pick-up will travel around the city to schools and community sites, teaching children about healthy eating and where their food comes from through the garden display in its truck-bed. Along with other local donors, the People’s Garden Initiative supports this “edible exhibit” by providing seedlings and educational materials.
The featured initiatives of the day – the farmers market, People’s Garden, and innovative Truck Farm project – are exciting examples of the very fresh food projects encouraged by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. Studies have shown that when families have more access to fruits and vegetables in their community, they’re more likely to eat them. That’s why Mrs. Obama has challenged community organizations throughout the country to host 10,000 fresh food projects in 2011. Growing healthy, affordable food is one critical step towards raising a healthier generation of kids. We hope you’ll join us by partnering with Let’s Move!, USDA, and the People’s Garden Initiative to start your neighborhood’s very own People’s Garden. Check out these resources to get started and once growing register your garden as a People’s Garden. You can visit other People’s Gardens across the country on the People’s Garden interactive map!