Friday, August 14, 2009

August 23-29, 2009 - National Community Garden Week!!

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared August 23-29 to be National Community Garden Week!! Vilsack supports community gardenting because it encourages Americans to connect with the land, the food it grows and their local communities. A community garden is an opportunity to educate everyone about from where food comes, whether that is a Farmers Market or a garden, and is important to increasing generations of healthy eaters. Community gardens can be anywhere whether it is in the country, a city or a suburb. It can be one community plot or can be many individual plots, at schools or other public facilities; the possibilities are endless!
Currently there are thousands of community gardens nationwide including 'The People's Garden' at USDA Headquarters on the National Mall. Earlier this year, Vilsack broke ground on 'The People's Garden' - a vegetable garden on USDA property that recently was expanded to include sustainable landscaping for the entire grounds. Since May 21, USDA has harvested and donated more than 170 pounds of produce to the DC Central Kitchen. The DC Central Kitchen offers job training in culinary and food service skills to DC's homeless.

Information about 'The People's Garden' initiative is available at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Here's an Idea!!! Adopt a Classroom :)

For those of you who are looking for ways to get community and parent support for your school gardens and outdoor classrooms, check out Teachers who register with this organization will have an opportunity to share their programs and projects with interested funders. Check it out!

Here's a website and a book by an urban girl who blogs and shares information and ideas related to organic urban and container gardening. She has a strong environmental ethic and shares ideas about composting, reducing plastic consumption, using energy and water efficient processes, etc. Please visit her website for a variety of differnet ideas and resources related to urban gardening.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SC Elementary Schools using USDA grant to promote fresh fruits & veggies!

The South Carolina Department of Education is working with 51 elementary schools across the state to increase children's consumption of fresh fruits and veggies with the help of a $ 1.17 million dollar grant from the USDA. Specifically, the Department of Education's Office of School Food Services and Nutrition is partnering with the state Department of Agriculture to work with local farmers to purchase home-grown fruits and produce for the program.

For more information about these schools and their partnership with the SC Dept. of Education, please visit:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kalmia Garden & Joslin Education Center at Coker College

Recently, my Boykin Spaniel "Jake" and I had the chance to visit with Mary Ridgeway, the Director of Kalmia Garden and Outdoor Classroom at Coker College in Hartsville, SC. While the garden has been open to the public since the 1930s, recently they have been focused on developing their outdoor classroom and education garden. With the help of a local boy scout troop, they have installed raised beds and are currently planning for some fall and winter crops.
Kalmia Garden is a 35 acre botanical garden filled with a wide variety of horticulture specimens and native wildlife. The site was an old Plantation homestead at one time before becoming a public garden and becoming part of Coker College. Kalmia Gardens is also part of the Cotton Trail and is the gateway to an almost 800 acre preserve!! Beautiful!!
Mary invites everyone to come visit Kalmia Garden and learn more about the Joslin Education Center and all of the opportunities it has to offer! For more information, please visit:

What a wonderful way to preserve the heritage of the Pee Dee area, and provide a sanctuary for children, families, wildlife and native fauna!