Gardeners and foodies, great news from the U.S. Department of Agriculture! On the 200th birthday
of Abe Lincoln – he founded the USDA, ya know – Secretary Vilsack "broke concrete" on a People's Garden at their headquarters in downtown D.C. One part of the project is returning 1,250 square feet of unnecessary concrete to lawn and believe me, focusing on the problem of impervious surfaces here in the city is great news to the environmental community.
The other part of this People's Garden is a 612-square-foot vegetable garden that will be tended by USDA volunteers working with folks from Melwood, a nonprofit that "empowers people with disabilities." Produce from the garden will go to the Melwood gardeners and to D.C. food banks.
But there's more – Vilsack is directing ALL USDA facilities around the world to assess their sites for potential greening measures, to include vegetable gardens, reduction in impervious surfaces, roof-top or window box gardens, native plant gardens – you name it. So I imagine we'll be seeing lots more encouraging press releases throughout the year. It's just begun, folks!
Now am I the only one who sees potential here for educating the American public? There's this quote from that press release: "The garden will showcase
conservation practices that all Americans can implement in their own
backyards and green spaces." See?
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Michelle Obama paid a visit to the USDA headquarters last week and declared this People's Garden a "good thing." So can the greening of the White House grounds be far off? I think not!
AND AT THE GSA
Elsewhere within the bowels of the bureaucracy, there's been a rather quiet movement under way for years now to green-up the buildings and grounds of the federal government. Led by whom? The agency you've probably never heard of – the General Services Administration, the folks who acquire and manage federal facilities. Unsung, uncool, but green as can be.