(09/28/2011)

Folks in the Glenville Community didn't know what to make of it when employees of the USDA Service Center tilled up a patch of ground by the Glenville Post Office building and had "topsoil" brought in. But once the tilling and the shoveling stopped and the plants planted, it became apparent that this little patch of earth was to be a garden…or at least an attempt at one by USDA employees.

The looks of skepticism from passersby made it clear that not many thought it possible that anything could grow in such a "mess." A little uncertainty also lingered in the minds of service center employees, but was short-lived as the plants began to grow and blossom and turn into what is known as a People's Garden.

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, broke ground on the first People's Garden at USDA Headquarters in DC on February 12, 2009, the bicentennial of Lincoln's birthday. When Abraham Lincoln founded USDA in 1862, he referred to it as "The People's Department." It is a description that is as true today as it was then. USDA touches the lives of Americans every day.

The People's Garden is a way to commemorate this significant link to all Americans and the People's Garden initiative is an effort by USDA to challenge its employees to establish gardens at USDA facilities worldwide or help communities create gardens. It is this initiative that brought about the garden at the Glenville Post Office building.

No funding was provided for the establishment of the People's Garden, but instead, the USDA service center employees donated everything. The produce harvested was in turn donated to the Senior Center and distributed to those seniors not having access to fresh vegetables. Although the garden was only "postage stamp" size, there were 143 pounds of fresh squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, and bell peppers harvested from it.

Service Center employees would like to extend a special thanks to Danny Furr, Joe Sealey, Shelley Richards, and Lundy Bailey for their labor contributions. They would also like to thank Vanessa Rashella, Glenville Postmaster, for allowing the garden to be planted on postal property.


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