Yesterday was a big day for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and The People’s Garden. If you remember back in February, Secretary Vilsack broke pavement for the people’s garden on the grounds of the USDA’s Whitten Building. Last week, the first phase of that garden was completed just in time for Earth Day.

Turns out, Vilsack had more in store for Earth Day than just a finished garden. Although he was not there for the event, yesterday The USDA held its first Farm to Fork Festival on the National Mall.

The USDA held the festival to celebrate the unveiling of The People's Garden, including interactive demos and information for children and adults.

The department gave away seeds, but they hope they will grow into a new way of life. The department wants to encourage Americans to start their own eco-friendly garden.
"Shows what people can do with their own homes, if they have a small urban plot. You can actually build one of these container boxes and plant vegetables there," said Matt Arnn of the USDA.
The representatives from the USDA also encouraged people who attended the festival to buy local organic products.

In addition to the Farm to Fork Festival, Vilsack released a press release yesterday that declared he would be expanding The People’s Garden to include the entire grounds of the Whitten Building.

In honor of Earth Day, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared the entire grounds at the USDA Jamie L. Whitten Building as 'The People's Garden' and unveiled plans to create a sustainable landscape on the grounds. "USDA is an every day every way kind of department and this garden will help illustrate the many ways USDA works to provide a sustainable, safe and nutritious food supply as well as protect and preserve the landscape where that food is produced," said Vilsack. "The garden will help explain to the public how small things they can do at home, at their business or on their farm or ranch, can promote sustainability, conserve the nation's natural resources, and make America a leader in combating climate change."

When all is said and done, The People’s Garden “will include organic raised vegetable beds, organic transition plots, an organic urban container garden, an organic kitchen pollinator garden, rain gardens and a bat house.”


Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

The new and improving People's Garden
The USDA's The People's Garden was unveiled yesterday as Secretary Vilsack announced plans to make it even bigger and better.