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Support for community gardens.

Greetings to all. We seem to be at a very interesting point in time at which we may have several good opportunities available to help focus the Federal Governments attention on community gardens. Hopefully to constructive ends.
On October 15, Secretary Glickman announced that USDA is launching a new community garden initiative with national organizations, including the American Community Gardening Association. This is part of USDA's recently issued Community Food Security Initiative Action Plan. (For full proposal check out USDA's web site at - www.usda.gov). What can we do?

1.   If you haven't already written him, please do so.  The letters
should be simple, and I'd suggest including the following points: thank you for your leadership in recognizing the importance of community gardens; ACGA is the right organization to partner with; here's what my garden does; look forward to working with you.  Simple stuff, nothing fancy.
2.   His address: The Honorable Dan Glickman, Secretary, U. S. Department of Agriculture, 14th & Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.  20250. Please copy Tom Tyler, ACGA President, Virginia Cooperative Extension, 3308 S. Stafford Street,
Arlington, VA  22206-1904. ACGA would like to keep track of what's coming in.
3.   It is very important that Secretary Glickman hear from us! If we
can get 50 groups to write him a letter, that would go a long way towards making sure we get something tangible out of this.  The Secretary is focused on community gardening right now and we must take advantage of this!!!!!!!
A second opportunity available to us right now is to support the Administration's proposed Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) legislation. This would provide $1 billion in permanent funding for land acquisition and conservation.
Key Points:
    1.. Urban & Community Forestry (US Forest Service, USDA) - $40 million for landscaping, tree planting, community gardens, environmental education.
    2.. Urban Parks & Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR, U.S. Department of Interior) - $4 million for inner city parks rehabilitation
    3.. Stateside Land Acquisition - $200 million + $ for Open Space
What we can do.
    1.. Your member of congress - Both House & Senate -- Ask them to talk to the Key Members listed below and impress upon them the importance of this funding for their districts.
    2.. Key Members:
            George Miller - California - House
            Don Young - Alaska - House
            Frank Murkowski - Alaska - Senate
            Mary Laudreau - Louisiana - Senate
            Jeff Bingaman - New Mexico - Senate
     Don't come home until you pass LWCF legislation!  You should talk about what community gardens have done in your community.  Keep it short and to the point! If we can generate enough buzz in the hinterlands, i mean, outside of D.C., those numbers could be significantly increased.  In fact, George Miller's bill has $150 million for UPARR. Also. the President's legislation would take the $1
billion "off-budget," which means that it wouldn't be affected by the
yearly debate over budget amounts.  Communities would be assured of at least $1 billion for this type of work and potentially more -- once we have the permanent status, we could then to work to increase that amount. So write those cards and letters folks!

Sincerely, Ben Long

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