A USDA People’s Garden outreach coordinator gives a tour of the garden to visiting Afghan Borlaug Fellows during their visit to USDA for the Borlaug program’s executive management training. The fellows spent a few days in the Washington D.C. area before visiting Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., where they learned how the U.S. land grant university system conducts research and brings new technologies to agricultural producers and agribusinesses. (Photo by Erin Tindell, Foreign Agricultural Service)
With 80 percent of Afghanistan’s population involved in farming, herding or both, agriculture is the main driver of the Afghan economy. However, only 12 percent of the country’s total land is arable and less than six percent is currently cultivated. Since 2003, the U.S. government has been working alongside Afghans to help restore the country’s once vibrant agricultural sector. Read more »
This Idaho People’s Garden donated over 5,000 pounds of food this summer to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Boise.
Located on about a half an acre of land in Boise, Idaho is a USDA People’s Garden. This land wasn’t always so fruitful. In fact, it was barren for almost 30 years due to a lack of water available on the property. In 2010, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Idaho State Office teamed up with Amity United Methodist Church of Boise to create a People’s Garden. The land is now a flourishing garden that produces many fruits and vegetables year round thanks in part to a new water distribution system. Read more »
USDA Executive Master Gardener Dora Flores (IT & eGov Team for USDA-AMS) poses proudly with the HQ People's Garden weekly harvest, which she helped grow and pick.
The arrival of fall doesn’t mean that garden season is over. In fact, the People’s Garden Initiative wants to keep the conversation growing! Throughout the growing season, People’s Garden staff and Executive Master Gardener volunteers at USDA Headquarters are asked hundreds of questions on the why, how, when and what of gardening. You too may be digging for answers on ways to turn your thumb a healthier shade of green. Read more »
The crops growing in the People's Garden at USDA Headquarters benefit from a drip irrigation system that Bob helped design. It is a planned irrigation system where water is applied directly to the root zone so each crop area is watered more uniformly and efficiently.
What do lawns, green roofs and electric bills have in common? If you ask Bob Snieckus, the answer is “energy.”
Even though Snieckus stays busy as National Landscape Architect for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), he is also committed to conserving energy and improving sustainability in the Washington, D.C., buildings and landscapes where he works. Read more »
These cabbages would be the pride of any gardener, but in this case the gardeners are eighty 2nd and 4th grade students from Junction City Elementary in Junction City, Arkansas. They are among the 4,000 students in 54 schools across the country participating in Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth (HGHY) – a project of USDA’s People’s Garden School Pilot Project.
With its southern climate, the schools in Arkansas got a head start on building their gardens and planting crops. On this day, Arkansas HGHY Principal Investigator Laura Connerly and project leads Janet Carson and Julie Treat of the University of Arkansas, along with HGHY Project Director Brad Gaolach and Martha Aitken from Washington State University, watched the students enthusiastically harvest cabbage, beets, basil, and green beans – pounds and pounds of them.
Directing the harvest was University of Arkansas Extension horticulture agent, Robin Bridges, and 4-H Program Assistant, Cynthia Ford, who have taken the Junction City students step by step through building, planning, planting and now, harvesting their garden. HGHY has enjoyed the full participation of the Junction City Elementary staff from Principal Rebekah West, to the four classroom teachers – Jan Wilson, Dee McKinnon, Connie Hammett and Patricia Murray – to the cafeteria and custodial teams, providing a rich environment for the students to learn about healthy eating. Read more »
Students at Woolmarket Elementary have transformed a vacant courtyard into a nucleus of plant activity, ranging from cabbages to coastal grasses.
When horticulturist Christine Coker first learned of the People’s Garden Initiative, she searched for a registered garden in her coastal Mississippi community.
Secretary Vilsack began the People’s Garden Initiative—the name references President Lincoln’s description of USDA as the “People’s Department”—in 2009 as an effort to challenge employees to create gardens at USDA facilities. It has since grown into a collaborative effort of over 700 local and national organizations all working together to establish community and school gardens across the country. Read more »