Urban and Rural Communities Benefit from Gardens
These People’s Gardens are invaluable avenues for communities to access fresh produce and healthy food, increase habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, conserve water and soil resources, and beautify neighborhoods.
Tropical Food Garden Benefits Island Community
Located on the island of Molokai in Hawaii is a 1,600 square foot People’s Garden that’s having an enormous impact on this small rural island community. Taro, sweet potato, corn, eggplant, bananas, and papayas are all grown and donated to local food banks. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Hoolehua Plant Materials Center and NRCS Earth Team Volunteers have been working tirelessly on this project since 2010.
One of our favorite educational tools at DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is the Truck Farm, a traveling mini-garden in the bed of a 2002 Dodge Ram pick-up truck in the nation’s capital. The edible exhibit aims to introduce the city’s youth to gardening and fresh, healthy foods. All sorts of vegetables and herbs grow in the bed of the Truck Farm during the growing season. The truck travels to visit kids at the youth agencies, schools and Healthy Corners that DCCK serves, as well as city farmers markets. During each visit kids are introduced to gardening and learn that it’s possible to grow your own food right in the city. Kids can touch, smell and even taste the fresh veggies and herbs.
Urban Pollinator Garden Provides Many Benefits
Over 250 native pollinator-friendly plants are in bloom early spring to late fall in downtown Harrisburg beautifying the community, providing food to pollinators, and reinforcing that pollinator habitat in cities is important. This garden is used to teach native plant identification at Harrisburg Area Community College and demonstrates to children, parents and teachers at a nearby daycare that native wasps, bees, and butterflies are nothing to fear. It’s been integrated into this urban community so successfully that Penn State Extension Master Gardeners certified it as a Pollinator Friendly Garden. Special thanks to the staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania along with staff at the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Big Flats, New York for bringing this garden to bee –literally!