Last Updated on October 18, 2022
The USDA is urging organizations to register vegetable gardens in a database as part of its “People’s Garden” initiative. “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,” reads the project’s webpage. A link is then provided for citizens to register their gardens.
“We welcome gardens nationwide to join us in the People’s Garden effort and all it represents,” said Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist in California. “Local gardens across the country share USDA’s goals of building more diversified and resilient local food systems, empowering communities to come together around expanding access to healthy food, addressing climate change and advancing equity.”
School gardens, community gardens, urban farms, and small-scale agriculture projects in rural and urban areas can be recognized as a “People’s Garden” if they meet certain criteria. Gardens on private residences cannot be registered as of this time. Instead, the department is seeking gardens located at community centers, churches, or federally leased properties.
The People’s Garden initiative was initially launched in 2009, but the department has recently decided to bring it back.
“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America,” reads a March press release announcing the project’s revitalization.
According to the USDA’s website, the project currently has 17 “urban hubs” in major population centers. These gardens employ “climate smart agriculture” with the goal of advancing “social and economic equity.”