Having realized yesterday that it’s been awhile since I read anything about the USDA’s People’s Garden initiative, I hit the web and found a press release dated April 22:
WASHINGTON, April 22, 2010 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today said that more than 300 gardens have been designated as ‘The People’s Garden’ across the country and urged employees to continue making plans to plant additional gardens. Merrigan made this announcement as she delivered the commencement address to the first graduating class of certified USDA Executive Master Gardener Program volunteers. This commencement marks the beginning of the first ever USDA Department-wide volunteer program for ‘The People’s Garden’ initiative, which Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack established on Feb. 12, 2009….
A ‘People’s Garden’ must include the following three components:
1. Benefit your community: Gardens benefit communities in many different ways. They can create spaces for leisure or recreation that the public can use, provide a harvest to a local food bank or shelter, be a wildlife friendly landscape or be a rain garden to absorb storm water run-off and protect the soil from erosion.
2. Be collaborative: The garden must be a collaborative effort between other volunteers, neighbors or organizations within your community. Local partnerships could carry out the mission of a People’s Garden.
3. Incorporate sustainable practices: the garden should include gardening practices that nurture, maintain and protect the environment such as:
- Capturing rainwater in rain barrels
- Composting and mulching
- Planting native species
- Encouraging beneficial insects that feed on destructive pests