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Archive for April, 2014

The Smithsonian Gardens education team is pleased to announce the launch of Community of Gardens just in time for National Garden Month. Community of Gardens is a participatory, digital archive for crowdsourcing stories about gardens and gardening in the United States. You can browse the stories on a map or submit your own story. Smithsonian Gardens is collecting stories about backyards, community gardens, memories of gardens past, heirloom plants, gardening through the decades, and more. Over the next year Smithsonian Gardens will also be rolling out a project-based learning curriculum and toolkit to support teachers interested in getting their students out into their community to collect stories about gardens. In the summer Smithsonian Gardens will launch a mobile app.

Here is a link to the project: https://communityofgardens.si.edu/

Take a moment browse stories from around the country, and think about adding your own story. Does your grandmother have memories of her Victory Garden? Have you always wanted to interview your neighbor about their community garden plot? Community of Gardens is about connecting communities and sharing stories about the green spaces that enrich our lives.

For additional information email Kate Fox at communityofgardens@si.edu<mailto:communityofgardens@si.edu>.

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MOORESVILLE, N.C., April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire — Gardening is growing as the #1 hobby in America, with 5 million more households digging in and planting than in 2010, driven by millennials’ interest in edible gardening according to the 2013 National Gardening Survey. The edible gardening category, which includes vegetable gardening, herb gardening, fruit trees and growing berries, recently hit a six-year high in both participation and spending.

Looking to source locally grown food straight from their backyards, nearly 80 percent of gardeners aged 18-30 purchase vegetables to grow, according to the 2014 Home Garden Panel by Metrolina Greenhouses, the nation’s largest greenhouse.

Growing berries emerges as the most popular trend in edibles, likely due to the reported health benefits of foods like antioxidant-rich blueberries. In fact, blueberry consumption grew more than 500 percent from 1980-2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today more than 25 percent of millennial consumers under the age of 24 purchase berries weekly or even more frequently.

Regardless of age, gardeners grow edibles for the pride of harvesting their own fresh produce to experience the growing process and to share. Almost two-thirds report plans to share their harvest with family, friends or neighbors, lending to the growing trend of community gardening.

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Press Release from USDA: Each year during April, USDA amplifies its public outreach about the risks that invasive plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds pose to America’s crops and forests—and how the public can prevent their spread. Invasive species threaten the health and profitability of U.S. agriculture and forestry, and scientists have estimated the cost of all invasive species – to all economic sectors –  to be approximately $120 billion yearly. “Invasive species threaten the health and profitability of U.S. agriculture and forestry, and the many jobs these sectors support,” said Kevin Shea, Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS helps to ensure a diverse natural ecosystem and an abundant and healthy food supply for all Americans.

With stakes this high, public awareness and action become key elements in protecting America’s agricultural and natural resources. APHIS created its Hungry Pests public outreach program to empower Americans with the knowledge they need to leave these “hungry pests” behind. So APHIS is asking Americans to visit HungryPests.com to learn what invasive plant pests and diseases are in their state or threaten it. Get information about damaging pests that USDA and its partners are combatting right now, especially tree-killing pests that are beginning to emerge this spring and into the summer. Be on the lookout for the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle, which starve trees to death by boring into them and eating their insides. Keep an eye out for the gypsy moth, whose hungry caterpillars can strip trees and bushes bare. Not all tree threats are insects; sudden oak death disease, caused by a fungus-like organism, can kill many types of trees as well as many landscape plants, such as camellias and rhododendrons. Most importantly, learn the “Seven Ways to Leave Hungry Pests Behind,” such as buying firewood where you burn it, or only moving treated firewood if you must bring it with you. Start by joining the conversation on the Hungry Pests Facebook Page.

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