Become a fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter USDA Blog Feed Watch USDA videos on YouTube Subscribe to receive e-mail updates View USDA Photos on Flickr Subscribe to RSS Feeds

Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth School Pilot Program: Training Teachers Coast to Coast

A classroom floor becomes a garden as 2nd graders at Hiawatha Elementary in Webster, Iowa decide which of their favorite fruits and vegetables will be planted in their school garden. Gathered in anticipation around a rectangle that represents the actual size of the garden bed, their teacher skillfully guides the planning, helping them consider which plants will thrive in Iowa’s climate, which plants require more or less sun, and which plants will be compatible neighbors.

Along the way, the teacher introduces math concepts – deftly integrating her classroom lessons into a real world experience. Soon the students will be planting this garden for real – just as they have planned it – as will 4,000 other youth in 57 schools in Iowa, Arkansas, New York and Washington participating in Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth (HGHY), a project of the People’s Garden School Pilot Project. Read more »

Organic 101: The Lifecycle of Organic Food Production

This is the fifth installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

Through defined farming practices, organic principles promote ecological balance, foster the cycling of resources, and conserve biodiversity. To understand what that means when it comes to the label on your food, those principles require some more explanation.

Let’s take a closer look at a snapshot of sustainable food production, using the lifecycle of organic cheddar to get a fuller picture. Read more »

Prague’s People’s Garden Expands Beyond U.S. Embassy Grounds

Shown in the first Czech People’s Garden, planted on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Prague, is Jana Mikulasova, an agricultural specialist with the Foreign Agricultural Service. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy, Prague)

Shown in the first Czech People’s Garden, planted on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Prague, is Jana Mikulasova, an agricultural specialist with the Foreign Agricultural Service. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy, Prague)

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Prague, Czech Republic, joined the People’s Garden initiative in the summer of 2009, when employees started planning their project, researching potential garden sites, and identifying input suppliers and partners. Their effort bore fruit in summer 2010 with the first Czech People’s Garden planted at the U.S. Embassy compound in Prague. Read more »