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People’s Garden Helps to Strengthen a Community in Costa Rica

Sara Roy and her son, Malachi, enjoy working together in the garden.

Sara Roy and her son, Malachi, enjoy working together in the garden.

The Foreign Agricultural Service office in San Jose broke ground on its own People’s Garden in Fall 2009. Ever since that day our embassy employees and their families, as well as members of the local community, have learned about the benefits of eating fresh, healthy foods.

“With our People’s Garden, we not only come together as a community to grow healthy foods, we also grow respect for the earth and for those who farm,” said Anne Slaughter Andrew, the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica. “What a great opportunity for our community—especially the children—to have a first-hand experience with ‘know your farmer, know your food’.”

This garden is part of USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative, which challenges USDA employees to establish People’s Gardens at USDA posts in communities worldwide. People’s Gardens vary in size and content, but they all have a common purpose of helping better the community and environment.

Malachi Roy is just one of many embassy children who have learned to grow vegetables in the People’s Garden.

Malachi Roy is just one of many embassy children who have learned to grow vegetables in the People’s Garden.

Those who maintain the Costa Rica garden grow a variety of plants, some native to the area and others more common in the United States. Many of these plants, such as certain lettuces and herbs, are not often available locally for purchase. Of course, learning to grow these in a tropical climate is always an experiment, but I regularly enjoy the lettuce as part of my lunchtime salads! Garden signs are displayed in both Spanish and English, which helps prompt conversation with locals who pass by the garden on a regular basis. When they choose to stop to admire the array of vegetables and herbs, many give advice on alternative ways of maintaining the garden.

The garden also provides an opportunity to teach embassy children how food is produced and allows them to experience the full cycle of planting and harvesting.

“My five-year-old son loved learning how to plant seeds and found it quite rewarding,” said Sara Roy, an embassy employee. “I loved seeing him learn to do something, and I know it’s a skill he can use now with his dad and me.”

Learn more about the People’s Garden Initiative and locate a garden near you on the People’s Garden Interactive Map.

Agricultural Attache Kelly Stange and Agricultural Counselor Kevin Smith brave the winds at the People’s Garden in Costa Rica.

Agricultural Attache Kelly Stange and Agricultural Counselor Kevin Smith brave the winds at the People’s Garden in Costa Rica.

4 Responses to “People’s Garden Helps to Strengthen a Community in Costa Rica”

  1. TATIANA VERGARA says:

    BUENAS TARDES ME GUSTARIA SABER SI ESTE AÑO ESTAN HACIENDO ESTA ACTIVIDAD DE AGRICULTURA ME GUSTARIA CONTRIBUIR TAMBIEN.

    GRACIAS

  2. maria luisa bermudez says:

    me parece muy bien ojala todos aprendiéramos a sembrar la tierra.

  3. Bernadette Luncsford says:

    Very Inspiring. It would be nice to see more of these people’s gardens popping up at Service Centers.

  4. Leanne says:

    Great job Kelly and Kevin. As a former school gardens Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica, and former ag attache, it is great to see you guys bringing ag projects to the local level.

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