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Support for USDA's Initiative on Community Gardening

  • To: agsec@usda.gov
  • Subject: [cg] Support for USDA's Initiative on Community Gardening
  • From: Tetrad <garlicgr@pond.com>
  • Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 21:36:43 -0500

Secretary Dan Glickman
200-A Whitten Bldg.
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250
Email: agsec@usda.gov

Dear Secretary Glickman:

As a local community garden coordinator and a member of the American
Community Garden Association, I was thrilled to read your announcement that
the USDA is launching a new community garden initiative with national
organizations (including the American Community Gardening Association) as
part of the USDA's Community Food Security Initiative Action Plan. I believe
that this partnership between the USDA and the American Community Garden
Association holds great promise to reduce hunger and build sustainable
communities throughout our nation.

While our two organizations rummage through documents, hold meetings and
brainstorm on how to increase funding (all very necessary activities!), I
hope you will consider a personal action that could have great impact to
those of us at the grassroots level, but will require absolutely no
additional funding:  Mention, at every opportunity, that local community
gardens are an accepted, vital and PERMANENT use for land in their communities. 

Unfortunately, as you will learn as you work more with local community
garden coordinators, most of us garden on land that local governments don't
yet have a buyer or a "development plan" for.  If buyer appears (or hints
that they *might* appear if only those gardeners would disappear), the
gardeners are almost always uprooted -- often practically overnight!  A
strong statement from you that community gardens are valuable and should be
considered a "permanent" rather than "temporary" use would help many of us
local garden coordinators sleep better at night!

St. John's Organic Community Garden, which provides free land, water and
seeds to anyone in the Phoenixville area who wants to grow their own food
organically and agrees to donate 10% of their harvest (the Biblical tithe)
to the less fortunate, survives because the faith-based organizations in
Phoenixville did not want the Phoenixville Food Bank to go without their
primary source of in-season fresh produce.  With your help, existing
programs such as ours will be strengthened and new gardens will flourish
where local governments have feared to "waste" land on "temporary uses."


Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's Organic Community Garden at
St. John's United Church of Christ
315 Gay Street
Phoenixville, PA  19460

cc:  Senator Arlen Spector, R-PA
     Senator Rick Santorum, R-PA
     US Representative Curt Weldon, R-PA
     Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, R-PA
     Pennsylvania State Representative Carole Rubley, R-PA
     Tom Tyler, President, American Community Garden Association
     Rev. Linda Gruber, pastor, St. John's United Church of Christ
     Community Gardening Internet Mailing List:  <community_garden.mallorn.com>
     Northeast Food Security Mailing List: <nefood-l@listproc.tufts.edu>

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