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Category: People’s Garden

School Gardens on Wheels

USDA partnered with The Washington Capitals to bring a People’s Garden to Powell Elementary School in Washington, DC almost 2 years ago. The process began with a garden design session so parents, teachers and students from every grade could put their ideas on paper. Hundreds of ideas were collected – from dinosaurs to avocado trees – for USDA landscape architects to sort through. The People’s Garden team and the Caps returned about a month later to reveal a concept plan that included a habitat garden and food garden. With the help of hundreds of volunteers from USDA’s People’s Garden, The Washington Capitals and the local community, both of these gardens have been brought to life.

The Habitat Garden was built first in the only area of the playground not covered in asphalt. The ground was very compact making the project a challenge for anyone trying to do this, but more so, on a very hot summer day. We got it done and the students now have an outdoor classroom to stomp through and explore. (This video shows a time-lapse of the amazing transformation.) Read more »

2012 People’s Garden Fall Webinar Series: Ingredients for a Healthy Garden

The feedback about last year’s webinar series was overwhelmingly positive! That’s why USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative is bringing it back.

We’re asked all the time for a specific recipe for starting and sustaining a People’s Garden. And each of this year’s webinars focus on ingredients that can be mixed into any garden project to make it healthier: processing and storing seeds, engaging volunteers, growing native plants, composting, and school garden best practices.

The series of five hour-long trainings will broadcast live on Thurs. Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 and Wed. Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. They are free for anyone to watch live online. Register at http://www.ksre.k-state.edu/2012webinars/ to participate. Read more »

Afghan Borlaug Fellows Receive Executive Training

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)

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 »

Growing Food for the Common Good at an Idaho People’s Garden

This Idaho People’s Garden donated over 5,000 pounds of food this summer to the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Boise.

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 »

#AskUSDA: A Conversation Between Gardeners

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.

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 »

Conservation from the Ground Up

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.

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 »