The simple act of planting a garden can have big impacts — from building a more diverse and resilient local food system to empowering communities to address issues like nutrition access and climate change.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack established the People’s Garden Initiative in 2009 to reflect USDA’s commitment to strengthen local food systems and enhance access to nutritious foods.
This week, Vilsack planted a tree to announce the reopening of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) People’s Garden Initiative. The garden, now adjacent and visible from where the USDA Farmer’s Market is set up, has new signage that provides information on local and regional food systems, urban gardening, pollinators, and food waste reduction and composting, among other topics.
The USDA People’s Garden Reopens:
In addition to relaunching the People’s Garden, USDA has plans to launch flagship gardens in urban communities across the United States.
The garden at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. will be joined by 17 flagship gardens located in urban communities nationwide that will grow fresh, healthy food and support resilient, local food systems; teach people how to garden using conservation practices; nurture habitat for pollinators and wildlife and create greenspace for neighbors.
People’s Gardens empower communities to participate in local food production and provide diversity and resiliency to the food supply chain. They also teach about the benefits of sustainable, local agriculture and how gardening can foster community collaboration, provide green gathering spaces, and benefit the environment.
The gardens can be located on federally owned or leased property, at schools, faith-based centers and other places within the community. They are different sizes and types based on the needs of the community, such as improving access to fresh food or planting milkweed and nectar sources for Monarchs and other butterflies.