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Green Thumbs Up Interest in community gardens sprouting all across America Editor’s note: compiled from Internet and other sources by Anne using Embassy window boxes, tree planting and field office Todd. plots designed to promote “going green” by retaining water and reducing runoff; using roof gardens for energy efficiency; irst Lady Michelle Obama and about two and using native plants and sound conservation practices. dozen local students from Bancroft On April 22 (Earth Day), Secretary Vilsack announced F Elementary School in Washington, D.C., made national headlines in March when they broke ground for an 1,100-square-foot that USDA would expand its original garden concept to include the grounds of USDA’s Jamie L. Whitten Headquarters Building, which fronts The National Mall. The organic “kitchen garden” on the south lawn of the White first phase of the garden is called the “Three Sisters” Garden, House. The garden will grow spring vegetables for the White in reference to the Native American tradition of interplanting House and Miriam’s Kitchen, an organization that serves corn, beans and squash in the same mound. The planting homeless people in the District of Columbia. method is a centuries-old, sustainable process that has Although the garden will provide food for the first family, provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to Mrs. Obama says that its most important role will be to generations of American Indians. educate children about healthy, locally grown fruit and The garden will also include raised organic vegetable beds, vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become organic transition plots, an organic urban container garden, national health concerns. This kitchen garden is the first an organic kitchen pollinator garden, rain gardens and a bat vegetable garden at the White House since First Lady house. USDA is planning to have the garden fully certified Eleanor Roosevelt planted her victory garden during World organic within three years. War II. The garden contains 55 varieties of plants; The vegetable garden is expected to provide a large variety predominantly vegetables. and amount of produce, which USDA plans to donate to a In February, to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s 200th local food bank. birthday, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that USDA would convert a 1,250-square-foot section of Co-op concept extends to gardening pavement at its headquarters into a “People’s Garden.” The Even before the First Lady announced plans for her name derives from USDA having been created during garden, interest in community gardening was on the rise. Lincoln’s presidency, which he often referred to as “The Ecological and food safety concerns and the recession have
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