CELEBRATE SPRINGS AND EARTH DAY BY PLANNING AND PLANTING A PEOPLES GARDEN
WARWICK, RI (April 19, 2012) Earth Day is April 22. One way you can get involved is by planting a People�s Garden. The People's Garden Initiative is an effort by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). When Abraham Lincoln founded USDA in 1862, he referred to it as The People�s Department. Lincoln said �the most valuable of all arts will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil.� It�s a description that is as true today as it was then.
People�s Gardens may be vegetable, rain, native plant, or pollinator gardens. People's Gardens vary in size and type, but all have a common purpose�to help the community they are within and the environment. Fresh fruits and vegetables may be grown for those in need. Trees, shrubs, and flowers may be planted to improve soil, water and air health; attract wildlife; or beautify the neighborhood.
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A People's Garden includes the following three components:
Benefits Your Community Gardens benefit communities in many different ways. Consider creating spaces for leisure or recreation that the public can use, donating the harvest to a local food bank or shelter, designing a wildlife friendly landscape, or installing a rain garden to absorb storm water run-off and protect the soil from erosion.
2. Is Collaborative The garden must be a collaborative effort between other volunteers, neighbors or organizations within your community. Consider forming local partnerships to carry out the mission of a People's Garden.
3. Incorporates Sustainable Practices 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
Want to participate and be involved? Consider creating gardens in vacant lots, schools, community agencies, houses of worship, or on rooftops and become part the People's Garden movement. Reach out to USDA employees in your community for their help and expertise or ask them to lend a hand in planting, harvesting, or maintaining a People's Garden. The possibilities are limitless.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202-720-6382 (TDD).