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People's Garden Initiative

NRCS in Rhode Island Takes Part in the USDA People's Garden Initiative This Year by Adding Two Gardens to the Program - Peckham Farm Edible Forest Garden and Corliss Institute Garden

People's Garden URI Peckham FarmPeople's Garden URI Peckham FarmWARWICK, RI (July 16, 2012) - NRCS Rhode Island took part in the USDA People's Garden Initiative this year by adding two gardens to the program including the Peckham Farm Edible Forest Garden and the Corliss Institute Garden.  The national initiative promotes the collaboration of gardens integrated with the local community and includes practices to benefit the environment.  Both gardens provide education on low maintenance gardening.

Located at University of Rhode Island's Kingston campus, the Peckham Farm Edible Forest Garden combines classroom learning with "in the ground" knowledge. A college course, designed by then student Tyler Desmarais, provided the opportunity for students to learn more about permaculture - agricultural ecosystems to essentially be sustainable and self-sufficient.

The garden includes keyhole raised beds, a field of asparagus and strawberries, nut trees, and berry bushes surrounding the pond. Desmarais imagines the garden to be fully functioning in 10-15 years. Within that time, the nut and fruit trees will bear an edible harvest. As of yet, the garden won't yield enough to donate to local schools and food pantries but, by next year, the garden expects to see many of the smaller plantings such as strawberries and blueberries to spring up. Desmarais partnered with the University of Rhode Island, 4-H, and Revive the Roots. People's Garden Corliss Institute

The second addition to the People's Garden Initiative is the Corliss Institute Garden. The Corliss Institute is a nonprofit agency offering day programs and residential housing for their members, whom are mostly deaf. Located in Warren, Rhode Island, the institute's community garden consists of vegetables and perennials which many of the Corliss members help to maintain.

People's Garden Corliss InstituteJan Martin volunteers as the coordinator of the garden and educates the Corliss members on how to grow and care for the plants. This year, Martin added a small field of corn and winter squash to the current garden of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and zucchini. The garden hopes to not only educate the community but also to provide healthy food. In the past year, the institute donated over 750 lbs of food to nearby food pantries and kitchens.

For more information on the People's Garden Initiative or how to get involved, please contact Kansees' Xiong, NRCS Landscape Architect at or 401-822-8846.