Artwork by Ray Christiansen in the Vallejo People's Garden on Mare Island in California.

Collaboration

 

We cannot achieve our impact without the help of our partners and their commitment to working collaboratively to build gardens that improve communities. Partners have contributed amazing amounts of time, energy and expertise to this effort.

 

Sharing Gardening Success Stories

These garden stories are true collaborative efforts and highlight diverse people and organizations such as residents, community groups, local businesses, non-profits, and local, state or federal governments that are joining forces on People’s Garden projects.

 

Astronauts Grow Lettuce in Space for the First Time

A partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NASA

What do astronauts in space have in common with farmers and gardeners on Earth? They all know the importance of fresh, nutritious produce -- and the challenges of growing it.

While the International Space Station is well-supplied with nourishing meals for its six crew members, they only get fresh fruit and vegetables every couple of months when cargo spacecraft arrive from Earth. Growing plants in space – ensuring they get the correct amount of nutrients, air, and water – is complicated by microgravity. Fortunately, NASA’s plant-growth system, known as Veggie, is making it possible for astronauts to grow plants in the microgravity environment of space. The ability to grow fresh food in space is critical for future long-duration missions including the journey to Mars.

The Veggie system has produced two successful harvests of “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce in space. On Earth, local 4-H and FFA students gathered in the USDA Headquarters People’s Garden in Washington, DC to simultaneously plant sister seeds of the lettuce being grown on the International Space Station. Thanks to this partnership visitors to the National Mall can see the same leafy greens growing in space on Earth. 

 

Growing Together in Paris

A Partnership between the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the American Embassy in France and a Leading Horticultural High School

In 2009 Charles Rivkin, the former United States Ambassador to France, suggested creating a vegetable garden at his official residence. To accomplish this goal, the Paris-based office of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service created a partnership with the École Du Breuil, the leading school of horticulture and landscape architecture in the City of Paris. With the cooperation of the Ambassador’s staff and strong support from the Embassy front office, a working relationship was set-up for the school to design and manage the garden.

Each year a group of students from the École Du Breuil designs the garden as a school project under the guidance of their professor of landscape and gardening studies. While not certified as organic, the garden is managed in a sustainable way. It is planted with many fruits and vegetables – both annual and perennial – such as several varieties of tomatoes, rocket salad and other salad greens, salmonberry, squash and zucchini, as well as strawberries, grape, raspberries, gooseberries and apples. Every fall winter vegetables such as beets, leeks, and cabbages including Brussels sprouts and kale are planted and taken care of by the gardener at the residence.

From Food Desert to Collaborative Triumph

A partnership between the US Forest Service and the Vallejo Community in California

 

In Vallejo, California, at a decommissioned Naval Shipyard called Mare Island, something very good emerged from hard times: the Vallejo People’s Garden.

It began as a partnership between a non-profit life skills training center, a federal agency, and a visionary Vallejo citizen, all within a mile of each other on Mare Island. Each determined to turn a vacant lot in a food desert into an organic vegetable garden for the homeless, a teaching garden for students, and gathering place for the community.

For the last five years partner organizations including the U.S. Forest Service (Region 5) and the Global Center for Success have provided vital support to this project: volunteers to build and maintain the garden, low-income clients to benefit from the vegetables, and students to learn about nutrition and food production through action. They’ve worked together to secure grant funds for materials from Nature's Path and Organic Gardening Magazine as a result of winning a nationwide Gardens For Good online contest.

The Vallejo People’s Garden involves people passionate about gardening and those who want to give back to the community. It continues to grow and attract volunteers from all over Vallejo and as far away as Berkeley and Fairfield.