Tulare County Resource Conservation District

News & Announcements


Tulare County Resource Conservation District

and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Team Up to Build

Tulare County’s First People's Garden
 
“…the most valuable of all arts will be the art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil.” — Abraham Lincoln
 
VISALIA, CA April 20, 2012 — The Tulare County Resource Conservation District (RCD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will officially open “Goathead Garden”, Tulare County’s first People's Garden on Saturday, April 21, 2012 in Visalia.  In honor of Earth Day, the Tulare County RCD, USDA staff and local volunteers will host a symbolic "first dig" in the garden, located at 932 N. Leslie Street in Visalia between 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M.  There will be information booths, demonstrations of the garden planning process, and planting.
 
Utilizing the framework of the USDA's nationwide People's Gardens program, the collaborative effort is working with a local urban gardening club and community volunteers from the surrounding neighborhood to build, plant and sustain the garden, with additional assistance coming from the Earth Team, the volunteer workforce of the NRCS, open to anyone 14 years of age or older and interested in conserving natural resources.
 
The criteria for developing a People’s Garden are broad: gardens must demonstrate sustainable practices; must be collaborative and must benefit their community. All the gardens are tended by volunteers.
 
In this joint People's Garden venture, Tulare County RCD provides funding and administrative support, with local USDA NRCS staff providing technical expertise, consultation and volunteer services.  NRCS staff consists of soil conservationists, agricultural engineers and native species experts who volunteer their assistance to this community effort, including activities such as mapping the 1-acre lot, planning the layout, and the irrigation system.  Additional donations and assistance came from local dairies, who donated and delivered composted manure to the site and chipped mulch from a local tree service company.
 
This unique partnership is creating a foundation for community gardens to flourish as long-term sustainable, community resources by offering a range of services and technical expertise free of charge to anyone wanting to launch or maintain a community garden.
 
Commenting on the project, Tulare County RCD President Tom Daly said, "The Tulare County Resource Conservation District is honored to partner with the USDA NRCS to start a People's Garden in Visalia. It is our hope the neighborhood and the community benefit from this garden."  Additionally, RCD Program Manager Teri Van Huss said, “We feel that the very appropriate name of Goathead Garden typifies the reality of reclaiming those wild weedy urban places in becoming productive areas in the neighborhood.”
 
Lurana Strong, Soil Conservationist from the Visalia NRCS office, said, “People’s Garden’s unite communities, raise awareness about sustainable agriculture practices, and help connect people with where their food comes from – we’re excited to assist in this effort to, and help educate children especially about protecting our environment and conserving resources.”
 
The People's Garden Initiative was launched by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on February 12, 2009 as an effort to challenge USDA employees to create gardens at USDA facilities. An idea that started with one garden to commemorate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth has since grown into an international movement with more than 1,500 People's Gardens that have expanded to all 50 states, three U.S. territories and eleven foreign countries. They are located at faith-based centers, on federal leased or owned property, at schools and other places within the community. Collectively referred to as community-based agriculture, People’s Gardens vary in size and type, but all have a common purpose – to help the community they’re within and the environment by helping people join together to establish community gardens, school gardens and small-scale agriculture projects in urban and rural areas.
 
About People’s Gardens of Tulare County
People’s Gardens of Tulare County meet monthly, with all meetings open to the public -- interested individuals and/or groups are welcome to attend. Meetings are held every fourth Wednesday from 1:00 – 3:00 P.M. at the NRCS Service Center in Visalia, CA - 3530 West Orchard Court. Please call or email Teri Van Huss at (559) 622-0378 / teri@tularecountyrcd.com or visitwww.tularecountyrcd.com/People_s_Garden.html for further information. For more information on how to register your new or existing community garden as a People's Garden, go to the People's Garden website atwww.usda.gov/peoplesgarden.
 
About Tulare County Resource Conservation District
The Tulare County Resource Conservation District (RCD) was formed in April of 1974 through the consolidation of five Soil Conservation Districts (SCD's). Its Board consists of five local landowners. The Tulare County RCD works with a broad spectrum of agencies at the state and Federal level and is officially housed at the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office at 3530 W. Orchard Court in Visalia. Their monthly public District Board meetings are typically held on the second Wednesday in the NRCS Conference Room. For more information about Tulare County Resource Conservation District, contact Teri Van Huss via e-mail at teri@tularecountyrcd.com or call (559) 622-0378.
 
Tulare County RCD
3530 West Orchard Court
Visalia, CA 93277-7055
 
About Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Originally established by Congress in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), NRCS has expanded to become a conservation leader for all natural resources, ensuring private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges, like climate change. Seventy percent of the land in the United States is privately owned, making stewardship by private landowners absolutely critical to the health of our Nation’s environment. NRCS works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems. NRCS partners with conservation groups and others to ensure private lands are conserved, restored, and more resilient to environmental challenges like climate change. Working side-by-side with farmers and ranchers, the NRCS identifies natural resource concerns, such as soil erosion and water quality issues, and develops unique conservation plans for restoring and protecting resources.
 
NRCS Service Center
3530 West Orchard Court
Visalia, CA 93277-7055
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