Teachers and students from Adams-Friendship Middle School in Adams, Wisconsin are growing a beautiful People’s Garden in the interior courtyard of their school.
Numerous excellent school garden programs have sprouted up across the country. School gardens often provide food that improves a child’s diet and nutrition, areas for learning, places for pleasure and recreation, as well as a continuing lesson in environmental stewardship and civic pride. But how do they take root?
School gardens are sown with similar considerations but vary based upon its geographic location, funding, grade level involvement, size, type and purpose. For anyone looking to begin a gardening program at a school, here are some tips to consider before you get growing:
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Farmers markets are a perfect venue for teaching children about the food they eat. Initiatives across the country, like this People’s Garden event at the USDA Farmers Market, encourage the development of healthy eating habits at an early age.
“We become what we repeatedly do.” In his Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens Sean Covey used these words to help young students preparing to attend college and join the workforce, but they also apply to how children learn to eat healthy.
Through innovative programs like the Power of Produce (POP) Club, farmers markets across the country are teaching children how to make healthy eating choices. This program, started at the Oregon City Farmers Market, invites children to learn more about some of their favorite foods. Participating in events like planting sunflower seeds or making jam gives the youngsters a chance to better understand where their food comes from. By receiving $2 to spend on fresh produce every time they visit the market to keeping a log of what they buy, the children become immersed in a world of healthy eating. Last year, 1,781 children aged 5 to 12 years old joined, resulting in 5,180 shopping trips. Read more »
Celebrate at the Pollinator Week Festival on June 21 at USDA Headquarters. (Photo credit: 2013 Pollinator Week logo courtesy of Pollinator Partnership)
How do pollinators affect your life? Well, if you’ve ever eaten a blueberry, chocolate bar or tomato, then you owe a big thank you to a small pollinator. Pollinators are birds, bats, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, small mammals, and most importantly, bees. They are responsible for pollinating one out of every three bites of food we eat. But these invaluable creatures are facing declines. That’s why USDA agencies, other federal departments and partners share knowledge and collaborate on efforts to help increase awareness and tackle challenges facing pollinators. Read more »
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This Chinese proverb is the idea behind the Little People’s Garden in Montevideo, Minnesota.
“Children need to know where their food comes from,” said Liz Ludwig, Farm Service Agency county executive director. “It’s not made in a factory; it’s grown in the soil, raised by farmers and ranchers, and cared for by people we call farmers.”
Initiated by Ludwig, the Little People’s Garden — now in its fourth year — was planted at Kinder Kare learning center in Montevideo, providing preschoolers a hands-on opportunity to learn where their food comes from and how to make healthy food choices. Read more »
Volunteers planted an heirloom variety of tomato called ‘Abraham Lincoln’ in People’s Garden throughout the world to celebrate USDA’s 150th Anniversary in 2012. More than 11,800 pounds of Lincoln Tomatoes were harvested and donated to food banks.
It’s National Volunteer Week and an ideal time to share how USDA employees and partners are volunteering their time to green communities and provide fresh food to those in need.
It all started in 2009 when Agriculture Secretary Vilsack established a Department-wide volunteer program for the People’s Garden Initiative. He encouraged every USDA employee to get involved by volunteering time and expertise to create a People’s Garden – a challenge he then extended to all Americans. Read more »
It’s amazing what can happen when you combine a great idea, commitment to community, love of agriculture, fresh air, good earth, and energized volunteers. In the Cotton and Tobacco Programs, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, we found this to be the perfect combination to cultivate our own People’s Garden – the Cotton Patch.
The People’s Garden initiative brings USDA employees and more than 700 local and national organizations together to create community and school gardens inspiring locally-led solutions to some of the challenges facing our country – from hunger to the environment.
Here in Memphis, creating the Cotton Patch was a collaborative series of fortunate events that began when employees from our local office requested to overhaul the facility’s landscaping and create our own People’s Garden. Read more »