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Dig In! National Community Garden Week is NOW

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Photo by via Flickr

Photo by via Flickr
Earlier this month, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared National Farmers Market Week, during which Americans were urged to try to put a visit to an area market into their routine in order to support local farmers and hopefully enrich their diets with fresh, locally sourced, healthy produce. On the heels of those eating and consumer focused efforts, Vilsack shifted his focus one step back in the chain and declared August 23-29 National Community Garden Week.

"A community garden is an opportunity to educate everyone about from where food comes, whether that is a Farmers Market or a garden, and is important to increasing generations of healthy eaters. Community gardens can be anywhere-in the country, a city, or a suburb. It can be one community plot or can be many individual plots," explains Urban Gardens.

Said Vilsack, of the gardens' benefits: "Community gardens provide numerous benefits including opportunities for local food production, resource conservation, and neighborhood beautification. But they also promote family and community interaction and enhance opportunities to eat healthy, nutritious foods."

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While the emphasis is on being active locally, at the national level the Obama administration is working to set the precedent. The USDA is aiming to support better nutrition, and is now operating The People's Garden on their property, a gardening project that demonstrates a leading-by-example mentality (there's a Victory Garden started by the first family in Sacramento, too). Gardens are popular in Los Angeles, too--some have waiting lists, but many are just getting started, and some can be started by you and your neighbors. The gardening bug can bite young, too--the LAUSD has a gardening program seeking funding and district-level renewal that can benefit their students immensely.

Want in? Use the LA Community Garden Council website to find a garden near you.