It’s amazing what can happen when you combine a great idea, commitment to community, love of agriculture, fresh air, good earth, and energized volunteers. In the Cotton and Tobacco Programs, a part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, we found this to be the perfect combination to cultivate our own People’s Garden – the Cotton Patch.
The People’s Garden initiative brings USDA employees and more than 700 local and national organizations together to create community and school gardens inspiring locally-led solutions to some of the challenges facing our country – from hunger to the environment.
Here in Memphis, creating the Cotton Patch was a collaborative series of fortunate events that began when employees from our local office requested to overhaul the facility’s landscaping and create our own People’s Garden. Read more »
The Midwest Region encouraged interns to participate in the People’s Garden as part of its Cultural Transformation efforts.
It is amazing what successful partnerships we have developed through our USDA People’s Garden initiative in the Food & Nutrition Service’s Midwest Region. It’s been four years now since we began working with the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest Program to create our garden. The garden is a symbol of USDA’s history in connecting our people to the land. Throughout the years, we have helped maintain raised garden beds in one of Chicago’s most economically and socially challenged neighborhoods. Now we have expanded those efforts to include our federal neighbors and partners at the Environmental Protection Agency. Read more »
Tiger swallowtail on phlox. The Wayne National Forest People’s Garden includes a native prairie, shade and several pollinator gardens. (U.S. Forest Service photo)
Next time you’re in the Midwest and thinking of hiking, all-terrain vehicle riding, mountain biking or horseback riding, visit the Wayne National Forest in the hills of southeastern Ohio. It’s there you’ll find more than 300 miles of trails to do those things and much more. Read more »
Planning to be in town for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration? USDA will open its doors on the National Mall for a USDA open house on Friday, January 18 from 10am – 2pm. The open house is a special opportunity to learn more about USDA’s important role in the lives of every American – helping to provide an abundant and safe food supply, natural resource conservation, groundbreaking research, clean energy, and much more. Read more »
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 »