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USDA People’s Gardens: What Do You Think?

Garden shared with neighbors

What do you guys think about the new USDA People’s Gardens program?

Part of me thinks it’s a cool way to get folks into gardening, but part of me thinks Mike Lieberman might be on to something here. The program encourages folks to register their community gardens, so that USDA can “showcase” them on an interactive garden map.

I’m all for growing food and all for showing it off to get folks excited about growing food themselves, but it’s a little bit hard to trust Tom Vilsack (former Monsanto employee), especially after all of the GM crop approvals that USDA has pushed through this year. Mike suggests that the ulterior motive here could be to track who is growing what and how much.

While I’m not sure whether I buy into all of the conspiracy theories around the food safety bill, I thought I’d throw this question out there and get your thoughts. Are you going to register your garden?

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by wwworks

8 comments
  1. Tricia Ballad

    I’m thinking not. But then, I plant my garden to feed my family really good food, not necessarily as a political or environmental statement. Now, when the neighbors wonder why my entire patio is full of planters with just a narrow walkway around, I’ll happily get into the philosophical aspects, but publicity on a large scale doesn’t excite me.

  2. anotherkindofdrew

    No thank you. The government flexes too much authority as it is and in light of their recent debacle’s and inability to communicate I would rather them not be my garden “tour guide.” When GMOs have to start wearing scarlet letters then I will think about it. Until then? No thank you. I’ll keep right on eating healthy in obscurity!

  3. Chiot's Run

    I would never register my garden, they don’t need to know about what I grow in my backyard. This is like a bad country wide HOA. Don’t forget this is the same organization that refuses to allow the labeling of GMO ingredients in food. So on one hand they care about “sustainability, healthy food and growing native species” but on the other hand they allow the unbridled planting of GMO’s and spraying of pesticides/herbicides.

    They don’t care about us, this smells of something foul to me – maybe not now – but in the future. Not to mention why are we spending tax dollars on this??????

  4. Wendy

    If anyone who has anything to do with Monsanto is involved, I’m out. And I agree with anotherkindofdrew, when GMO’s are wearing the scarlet letters, then I’ll have a bit more faith in the system.

  5. Travis

    i usually buy into any conspiracy if it has a juicy center, but this one doesn’t. i have grown food my whole life, and if i was a kid and was able to go online and see a little pin on a map designating my ‘mater patch, that would have been really cool.
    realistically, what do you folks think is going to happen? g-men bust out of a black suv and steal your onions? not likely. our little backyard gardens (let’s say under a half acre) are just not that important to anyone and i will do just about anything to try to get kids more involved in growing food.
    i am going to go register now. if they make me put a yellow star on the ‘mater cage though, i will be highly suspect!

  6. Travis

    after reading the link provided in this article to the actual USDA program, this isn’t for home gardens at all (even though the first paragraph of this blog says otherwise). actually, it is only community type gardens.
    here are the rules:
    Each ‘People’s Garden’ can vary in size and type, but they must include the following three components:

    β€’Benefit the 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, be a wildlife friendly landscape, or be a rain garden to absorb storm water run-off and protect the soil from erosion.
    β€’Be Collaborative: The garden must be created and maintained by a partnership of local individuals, groups, or organizations.
    β€’Incorporate Sustainable Practices: The garden must include gardening practices that nurture, maintain and protect the environment such as:
    βˆ™ Capturing rainwater in rain barrels

    βˆ™ Composting and mulching

    βˆ™ Planting native species

    βˆ™ Encouraging beneficial insects that feed on destructive pests

  7. Mitchell

    Do you think they’d be able to get me some GMO Green Pepper seeds? Also, I would probably need them to be roundup ready.

    [heavy sarcasm]

    They want us to garden as much as they want organic farmers to succeed.

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