Brad Fisher, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
On May 20, 2010, the USDA State Office in Dover, Delaware broke ground on its People’s Garden, answering Secretary Vilsack’s call to plant such gardens at Department offices around the globe. The Secretary established the People’s Garden project in February 2009 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday. (See the groundbreaking on YouTube.) Since then, more than 300 People’s Garden have blossomed across the country.
The office has 80 Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Rural Development and Information Technology Services employees. The employees will volunteer their time to help care for and harvest the garden. The garden’s bounty will help needy families in the area and provide a hands-on learning experience for second graders at North Dover Elementary School.
And not only does the Delaware garden grow food, it grows partnerships, as well. At the ceremony, NRCS Chief Dave White pointed to the cooperative efforts by federal and state agencies, schools, and private conservation groups to make the garden a reality.
Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook told the crowd that this and other People’s Garden’s are important to making people aware of where their food comes from and encouraging smart eating.
Michael Scuse, Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, affirmed that People’s Gardens educate the public about the work that farmers do every day to provide food, fiber, and fuel.
NRCS Delaware State Conservationist Russell Morgan said that he sees People’s Gardens as ways to teach lessons in taking better care of natural resources.
One phase of the People’s Garden at the USDA office in Dover is the expansion of a rain garden. Storm water runoff and flooding are top concerns in the Delaware Estuary because of the damage that can occur when large volumes of rainwater occur.
Learn more about the People’s Garden movement at www.usda.gov/peoplesgarden.
NRCS employees dig out paths and install borders and landscape fabric.
The garden is in the final construction stages. Only a few more steps to complete before the ground is ready for spring planting.