A volunteer at the USDA People's Garden tends to Blossom and German Extra Hardy garlic. The USDA through its People's Garden encourages everyone to grow their own food whether it's a couple of tomato plants or an acre of biointensively grown vegetables. USDA photo by Lance Cheung
Every month, more than 44 million people use SNAP to get nutritious food. Most of us probably imagine participants buying items like tomatoes, squash, and apples with their benefits. But did you know that SNAP can also help people grow their own food? With SNAP, participants can buy seeds and edible plants. It’s a great way to get fresh produce right at home! All SNAP retailers, including Farmers’ Markets, can sell seeds and plants to SNAP participants. Read more »
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Secretary Vilsack prepared a message this month describing the purpose and mission of the Peoples’ Garden at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC.
Here’s the first part of the message. Check it out, and be sure to visit the Peoples’ Garden web page and Twitter feed.
From: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
Re: The Peoples’ Garden
What was the idea behind the people’s garden? Well, we wanted to take an opportunity to showcase what we do at USDA, and to encourage folks to consider local production and local consumption. We felt that this was an opportunity to provide an example to the rest of the country.
There are a lot of people who walk this mall from all over the country, and we thought if we had a statement garden that we would begin to get peoples attention about this, but we wanted to also encourage other USDA offices to follow suit. And we felt that if we could create these people’s gardens then it would allow us to better connect people with where their food comes from. Allow young people in particular to understand how hard it is to produce food and how much fun it is to produce food. And we believed that as these local production opportunities were created young people in particular would not only learn the lessons of hard work, but more importantly would be encouraged to be more nutritious eaters. So there are lots of reasons for the people’s garden, and we’re encouraged by the response…
Read the rest of the Secretary’s Peoples’ Garden message here, or visit the Peoples’ Garden web page to learn more and see what’s happening in the garden.
The weather is holding through this afternoon, and the lunchtime crowd in the Peoples’ Garden is excited and really interested to see what’s happening.
Early in the afternoon, the DC Central Kitchen, a student-operated non-profit in the District of Columbia which works to develop and serve organic, nutritious food to people in need, demonstrated the making of their bruschetta — and they’re still serving it outside to great reviews!
Meanwhile, staff from the National Arboretum joined a group of curious folks to teach gardening in containers and pots — a perfect concept for Americans living in urban apartments or other places lacking green space to garden. Practical tips abounded — for example, terra cotta pots are great, but not if you need to move your garden around often (they’ll break). Instead, the staff outlined the benefits of new gardening pots that are more weather-and-damage resistant.
It’s always a lot of fun to walk in the garden on an afternoon like this one, and to see how many Americans are excited at the possibility of getting a garden of their own going. The workshops continue throughout the summer, and you can always learn more at the Peoples’ Garden page.
Last Friday, USDA employees offered a “Healthy Garden” Workshop to teach area residents and visitors about ways to improve soil health in their gardens. The Workshop series will continue every Friday from noon to 12:30 p.m. through September 25, focusing on a different practical gardening skill each week. The events are held outside USDA headquarters at the ‘People’s Garden’ at the corner of 12th and Jefferson Drive SW, across from the National Mall.
To read more about our Healthy Garden Workshops visit HERE.
The People’s Garden is a demonstration plot designed to show how even small actions can mean important gains in mitigating global warming, conserving land, and producing a safe, sustainable and nutritious food supply. USDA invites you to sign up today and follow the progress of the People’s Garden on Twitter at twitter.com/peoplesgarden and get the latest real-time “tweets” on events, workshops, plantings and harvests