The USDA's "People's Garden"

Still, though kudos should go to Vilsack for the little garden, it's his words a couple of months ago that better signal a shift from Big Ag-centered thought to a more grassroots philosophy at the USDA:

"I’d like to encourage every person who works for USDA, all one hundred and three thousand of us to look for opportunities in our home communities and home areas, at USDA offices or churches, or at schools, or in community garden facilities to participate in the people’s garden movement. I think it’s important, your friends and neighbors will be looking to you for leadership, for direction, and if they see you excited about planting a people’s garden in a community garden then they will get involved as well. This is a terrific opportunity for this country to reconnect its self with its food supply."

Maybe Michelle and Barack Obama were strong-armed into having an organic garden on the White House lawn by tough punks like Alice Waters, but Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made his without any public opinion campaigns to twist his arm. Yep, there are two governement garden in DC, the second one run by the USDA itself.

On 1,250 square feet a few blocks from the Washington Mall, Vilsack and USDA employees have planted a "People's Garden", with the crops all going to local food banks. They've even created cooking projects around it. USDA pickles, anyone? Not for sale, though, because that would probably violate some regs.

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