‘The People’s Garden’ initiative is an effort by USDA which challenges its employees to establish gardens at USDA facilities worldwide or help communities create gardens. A ‘People’s Garden’ can vary in size and type, but all have a common purpose – to help the community they are within and the environment. A ‘People’s Garden’ must include the following three components:
1. Benefit your community: Gardens benefit communities in many different ways. They can create spaces for leisure or recreation that the public can use, provide a harvest to a local food bank or shelter, be a wildlife friendly landscape or be a rain garden to absorb storm water run-off and protect the soil from erosion.
2. Be collaborative: The garden must be a collaborative effort between other volunteers, neighbors or organizations within your community. Local partnerships could carry out the mission of a People’s Garden.
3. Incorporate sustainable practices: the garden should 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