Our Impact

The USDA People’s Garden accomplishes its work through collaboration and volunteerism. Thousands of USDA employees and over 1,500 partner organizations are engaged in this effort and have volunteered more than 222,000 hours (estimated value of over four million dollars) at a People’s Garden since 2009. Thanks to partners like Keep America Beautiful more than 2,600 gardening projects in all 50 states, four U.S. territories and 12 foreign countries are registered as a People’s Garden. 

Our gardens increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in low-income communities, provide habitat and food for pollinators and other wildlife, help conserve water and restore soil health, beautify vacant lots and neighborhoods.  They are living laboratories for science and other subjects, and offer hands-on training and valuable job skills.

 

 

All food grown in a People’s Garden at a USDA-owned, or leased, facility is donated to local food pantries, food banks, food rescue programs, kitchens, and shelters. Those growing food at other locations are encouraged to participate in the Initiative’s Share Your Harvest effort by donating a portion of what’s grown to help those in need and reduce food waste. There is a growing concern about food loss and waste throughout the United States.  We believe that if you grow more than you need, donate it, don’t waste it. More than 4.6 million pounds of fresh produce has been donated from all People’s Gardens since 2009.

Helpful Tip

Donations of food and grocery items to non-profits to feed needy individuals are covered by the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (Public Law 104-210). Unless there is gross negligence or misconduct on behalf of the donor, individuals and groups are not liable.

 

 

Growing your own food is a great way to build a healthier plate. Research shows that people who have access to fruits and vegetables eat more fruits and vegetables, and that children who garden are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and have greater knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating habits. Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. USDA’s MyPlate recommends that everyone fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables. A new feature has been added to the People’s Garden database to help gardeners calculate their harvest from garden to plate. For the first time, you can itemize the amount and type of fruits and vegetables picked from your People’s Garden. 

Each product is automatically converted to cups using SuperTracker. This tool helps gardeners better understand how the yield will feed them and others. Knowing how many cups of fruits and vegetables are being consumed allows us to share how the act of gardening relates to your plate and can impact diet and health.