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USDA Helps Hormigueros Multi-Family Housing Residents Build Community Garden

Hormigueros Housing Community with their new Peoples GardenUSDA-FNS, NRCS and RD officials joined Agro-Juvenil 2.0 for a hands-on “Huerto comunitario como herramienta para transformar la comunidad" (Community Garden as a tool for community transformation) workshop at the Hormigueros Apartments Multi-Family Housing Community the first week of June. This multi-family complex houses 112 people, including 40 children under 18 years old. Tenants range from very low- to moderate-income families, the elderly and persons with handicaps or disabilities that are eligible to live in Section 515-financed housing.

USDA partnered with Agro Juvenil 2.0 to share the People’s Garden vision of enabling communities to develop, take over and maintain a community garden with the Hormigueros community. This activity is part of the StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity that helps economic growth by investing in rural communities. Community members and NRCS staff plant Hormigueros Peoples Garden-June2015

During the workshop, Felix Jimenez, an Agro Juvenil 2.0 agronomist, taught community members how to compost, gardening methods and other ideas to maintain a community garden. He demonstrated how to plant and maintain peppers, cilantro, lettuce, and sweet peppers in the new-box garden, and provided fertilizer instructions.

During the hands-on garden demonstration, NRCS Plant Material Specialist Edwin Más, and NRCS Agronomist Mario Rodríguez, discussed best management practices and how to develop, maintain and improve community gardens. They explained how to attract pollinators, organic pest management methods, and how to manage water infiltration in the box garden.

Plant Materials Specialist Edwin Más answers community member questions about pollinators.
NRCS Plant Materials Specialist, Edwin Más (back, center) answers community member questions about pollinators.

Children participating in the activity enjoyed a hot meal sponsored by the PR School Food Authority. Iris Rosa-Declet, FNS Program Specialist, and Wilson Almodóvar, RD Area Specialist Team Leader, brought lunch from a nearby public school that is sponsoring the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). USDA RD and FNS have partnered to bring nutritious meals during the summer to low-income children residing in RD Multi-Family Housing units. The SFSP ensures children continue to receive balanced meals when school is not in session. Project administrators are encouraged to bring the food to children on-site to overcome access barriers. This program is available in Puerto Rico school districts from May 29th thru July 31st. Visit the NRCS Caribbean Area People’s Garden webpage for more information or contact Ismael Matos at 787-766-5206 x128. For more information on SFSP, contact Iris Rosa-Declit at 787-766-5321 or visit

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