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…. Continue reading
I was thinking of whipping up some thoughts on the new People’s Garden initiative sparked by the USDA and summed up now in a brochure (PDF) . But then I discovered this HuffPo post by Rose Hayden-Smith, easily the country’s foremost (and most pleasant!) “victory garden” scholar. I figured I could fill you in on her post and offer my response.
Rose (and I’m going to call her that because she’s my friend) provides a wonderful overview of the connections between Abraham Lincoln and the USDA initiative’s name:
It is fitting that the USDA should choose to honor President Lincoln through the creation of a People’s Garden. When Lincoln established the USDA in 1862, at a time when more than half the population of the country was involved in agriculture, he referred to it as “The People’s Department.” It’s a description that is as true today as it was then.
It’s easy to draw parallels between our contemporary situation (two wars, a nation essentially divided) to the one that in which Lincoln found himself in the 1860s. Continue reading