Federal Urban Gardening Program
- Subject: [cg] Federal Urban Gardening Program
- From: "Libby J. Goldstein" <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 11:46:59 -0400
O.K. I guess I'm the only reservoir of institutional memory among us;
although McCabe knows, too.
At the urging of Rep. Fred Richmond (D. NY), Congress put $150,000
into the 1977 Extension budget as an ear-marked section 3b program
for an Urban Gardening Program in 6 cities: NYC, Phila, Boston,
Chicago, Houston and LA.
It was a really cheap way to get the urban congressional delegations
to support the Farm Bill and most especially the Ag. appropriations
packages. Even Jamie Whitten, the chair of the House (I think, maybe
it was the Senate) Ag and Ag apprpriations committees loved tho he
was no friend of cities, small farmers and so forth.
In 1978, the program was expanded to the 16 largest cities (one in each state).
It stayed at 16 for several years and remained a line-item budget
item under title 3b. I think the Denver Congressional delegation may
have brought the pressure to go to 23 cities.
However, many Extension directors were not fond of urban programs and
of not having total control over the funds. (Actually, some of them
thought that the staffs were a bunch of commies or something because
we liked working in the city and doing what amounted to community
organizing around a neutral issue like gardening and a not so neutral
issue like food.)
In the late '80's, ostensibly to protect the program from being taken
out of the budget every year and the resultant lobbying of urban
delegations, gardeners, farmers (a few) and city administrations, the
program was folded into general Extension funding...no more line
item. Many Extension directors took the opportunity to gut the
program and certainly to use the funds as they liked.
That's what I know. Hope it helps. For more information you might
want to contact Craig S. Oliver <Craig_S_OLIVER@umail.umd.edu > who
was the Assoc. Extension Director in charge of the Philadelphia
USDA zone 7A Sunset zone 32
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