Earlier this year, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, created a People’s Garden as part of their efforts to live a more “green” life at work. “Green Teams,” volunteer organizations present in many U.S. embassies, look for ways to improve green issues at the embassy through programs that promote green living such as recycling and saving water.
The People’s Garden Initiative is designed to provide a sampling of USDA’s efforts throughout the world as well as teach others how to nurture, maintain and protect a healthy landscape. People’s Gardens have cropped up at USDA headquarters, in all 50 states and at Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) posts throughout the world since 2009. Each People’s Garden can vary in size and type, but all have a common purpose – to help the environment and the community they are in.
In February 2010, Girl Scout Clara Hamilton, the daughter of an FAS Foreign Service Officer, obtained approval from embassy management to use a large embassy planter for community garden space. Clara raised money for tools and seed to make the garden possible. In conjunction with the embassy’s community liaison officer, community members volunteered to tend the plots and grow a variety of crops. The produce – cucumbers, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes – was shared among mission members and the gardeners.
Children in the embassy community also had the opportunity to learn about how a garden works and plant lettuce and spinach to take home. In the fall, the gardeners will plant additional seasonal crops and continue their gardens. Next year, new community members can join in this effort and hopefully increase participation and yields.