It’s never too early to start cultivating a “green thumb,” and a People’s Garden in Reno, Nev. is doing just that.
Employees of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently created a new People’s Garden at their office in partnership with One World Children’s Academy, a preschool across the street from the office.
NRCS and FSA employees dedicated the new garden, called “People’s Garden of the Truckee Meadows,” with the help of a class of four- and five-year-old preschoolers, planting bush beans and peas and building four scarecrows.
Because the preschool is near the USDA office, the children can stop by and see the fruits of their labor in the weeks and months to come.
“I’ll come back tomorrow to see my bean grow,” said one eager youngster.
NRCS State Office employees, along with Earth Team Volunteers, have been working on the beginning stages of the garden since September 2013. The project has faced some challenges with uncooperative weather and local wildlife, but the dedication in April went off without a hitch.
“It’s so exciting to see all of the enthusiasm from employees, volunteers and retirees happy to donate supplies and valuable knowledge to the garden, but to share it with the community and educate children has been the icing on the cake,” said Emily Avila, People’s Garden coordinator for NRCS in Nevada.
USDA began the People’s Garden Initiative in 2009 in honor of President Lincoln’s founding of USDA as the “People’s Department” with a challenge to employees to create gardens at facilities worldwide.
In keeping with the mission of the People’s Garden Initiative, it will benefit the community, be a collaborative effort and incorporate sustainable practices.
“In addition to employees helping outside in the garden, they have been helping indoors by disposing of biodegradable trash like coffee grounds and fruit peels, into our composting bucket, which we take outside and add to our composting pile,” Avila said.
After Christmas last year, NRCS partnered with Washoe County Parks and Recreation to gather recycled Christmas tree mulch to use as the ground cover for the garden and have designated the Food Bank of Northern Nevada as the charity to receive all the fruit and vegetables grown in the garden.