There has been little in Ruben Herrera’s life of late to celebrate. The past few years have been marred by drugs, prison, and homelessness.
A military vet who was raised on a farm in Gilbert, Arizona, Ruben remembered the sweetness of his childhood rural lifestyle even as he struggled with the realities of life on the streets of America’s sixth largest city.
In October, Ruben’s Veterans Administration counselor directed him to the Human Services Campus in downtown Phoenix where he is now finding renewed hope and purpose.
The Human Services Campus houses several social service agencies—St. Vincent de Paul, Central Arizona Shelter Services, Lodestar, NOVA Safe Haven, Maricopa County Health Services and St. Joseph the Worker employment counseling. But for Ruben, the Community Garden, rooted out of a parking lot next to the campus, has become his sanctuary. Read more »
Powell Kids Pulling Beets: Students eagerly pulled out plants and were surprised at what they found! (in this case, turnips)
As fall was quickly turning into winter, we chose a brisk day in early November to close out gardening season with all of the students at Powell Elementary. Together, along with staff from the NHL’s Washington Capitals and USDA Executive Master Gardeners, we organized a harvest and “Salad Party” so all grades could pick ingredients for and create a salad with what they’d grown. We also used this day to maintain the Habitat Garden in the form of weeding, planting natives, mulching, and rebuilding paths. We were successful in both activities, putting the Habitat Garden “to bed” in celebration of Keep America Beautiful’s National Planting Day, and throwing one heck of a salad party. Read more »
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 »
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 »
In McLean, a community tucked inside Fairfax County, not everyone can access the food they need for good health. I interviewed Julie Mendoza about her efforts to connect hungry families in McLean with fresh produce.
Julie knew that Share McLean, a food pantry that serves hungry families in the area, often lacked fresh produce. As she was walking through the McLean community garden one day, she noticed that there was an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. She decided she would try to facilitate a relationship between the garden and Share McLean, calling it The Gardeners’ Share of McLean.
Young gardeners at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church grow food for The Gardener’s Share.
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The People’s Garden Initiative and Keep America Beautiful are asking Americans to join us in supporting local ecosystems by planting species native to their area this fall. The first ever National Planting Day will take place on Saturday, September 8 and will continue with activities happening through November 30. Read more »