This article was originally posted on ServiceNation.org. Read the original here.
As Secretary of Agriculture, I take USDA’s nickname of the “People’s Department”—first coined by President Abraham Lincoln—to heart. Over the past five years, we have worked hard to build upon our tradition of service to the American people, supporting both the farmers and ranchers who grow our food and giving American families confidence that the food they buy at the grocery store is safe, healthy and affordable.
We could not accomplish our mission without the contributions of partner organizations and individual volunteers across the country. While our work with volunteers is by no means exclusive to nutrition and nutrition education, volunteers act as our boots on the ground in classrooms and communities to teach kids about where food comes from and why the diet and lifestyle choices they make today matter for their future. Volunteers, along with parents, teachers, school administrators, and school food service professionals, are absolutely critical to our efforts to improve childhood nutrition and help this generation of youngsters grow up healthy and strong. 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 »
Working as an Earth Team volunteer, Cartographic Technician Jonathan Bowlin pulls trash from a stream near his office in Greensboro, N.C.
Employees of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) work every day to help private landowners improve environmental quality on their properties. So when staff at the NRCS East Remote Sensing Lab (ERSL) in Greensboro, N.C. noticed a stream near their building had become a dumping ground, they took it upon themselves to address the problem. Read more »
USDA's People’s Garden is sponsoring a Harvest Festival on Friday, October 28 from 10 am to 2 pm at USDA Farmers Market, on the northeast lawn of Jamie L. Whitten Building and along 12th Street in-between Jefferson Drive and Independence Avenue, SW. The festival marks the culmination of a very productive growing season for the People's Garden at USDA Headquarters.
Let’s get together to enjoy the fruits of our labor! USDA’s People’s Garden is sponsoring a Harvest Festival on Friday, October 28 from 10 am to 2 pm at USDA Farmers Market, on the northeast lawn of Jamie L. Whitten Building and along 12th Street in-between Jefferson Drive and Independence Avenue, SW. The festival marks the culmination of a very productive growing season for the People’s Garden at USDA Headquarters. Read more »
People’s Garden committee member Rhonda Tyndall (left) shows DSU nutritionists Donna Brown and Carol Giesecke exactly which veggies and herbs will be ready for use in their upcoming cooking demonstration.
Providing healthy produce to needy families is one of many goals of USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative. But ensuring that those who receive the food know delicious ways to enjoy it is also important. Read more »
Members of the Wenatchee Lab’s People’s Garden team—Sid Tate, volunteer; Debbie Larson, volunteer; Taylor Millican, volunteer; Anne Conway, employee; Charles Carmody, employee; and Devi Davis, volunteer—proudly showcase produce harvested from the garden on August 12, 2011. The produce pictured here was donated to Wenatchee’s Veteran’s Stand-Down, an event where community members reach out to veterans in need and their families. (U.S. Forest Service, PNW Research Station)
The Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Wenatchee Forestry Sciences Lab started our employee-tended People’s Garden in 2010. Since that time, we’ve harvested 3,976 pounds of fruits and vegetables that we’ve donated to Wenatchee-area food banks and community organizations, providing healthy produce to families that otherwise would not have them. Our harvest this year so far has totaled 1,476 pounds. Read more »