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.
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
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
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
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
1.. Urban & Community Forestry (US Forest Service,
USDA) - $40 million for landscaping, tree planting, community gardens,
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
George Miller - California -
Young - Alaska -
Frank Murkowski - Alaska -
Mary Laudreau - Louisiana -
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