People's Garden Planned Next to USDA Farmers Market

      Posted On: April 15, 2009

In March, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced the People’s Garden Initiative, and broke ground on what will be a certified organic vegetable garden at the USDA’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The garden will be directly adjacent to the USDA Farmers Market, which is on Wednesdays, one block from the National Mall. In an inaugural meeting of the USDA People’s Garden Partnership Forum, Sec. Vilsack said that the garden is in keeping with his vision of USDA as leader in sustainability– “sustainable farms, sustainable diets, and sustainable rural economies.” The garden is part of a much larger re-landscaping of the Whitten Building grounds, which will incorporate more perennials and native plants that are on the site presently. All produce from the organic vegetable garden will be donated to local food banks and homeless shelters. The secretary hopes to see People’s Gardens in as many of the 2,200 USDA-owned office sites around the nation as possible, and that they will serve to educate people about food production, create an appreciation of healthful eating, and inspire young people to explore careers in agriculture. “While there’s been an increase in the number of small farms in the last five years,” Vilsack said in a meeting on People’s Garden meeting on March 26th, “we’ve lost a lot of medium-sized farms. We need to inspire a new generation of family farmers” to fill these gaps.

To follow the progress of the People’s Garden Initiative, visit