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WSU Extension Educator Named State Community Gardening Coordinator

PULLMAN, Wash. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman today named Steven Garrett Community Gardening Coordinator, to provide advice on establishing and expanding community gardens in Washington.

Garrett, a Washington State University Cooperative Extension educator in Pierce County since 1990, developed the first Cooperative Extension gleaning project in the nation.

“Community gardens not only produce fresh fruits and vegetables; they can also help create more livable communities by replacing unused lots with productive green spaces,” said Glickman, in videotaped remarks prepared for the American Community Gardening Association conference in Atlanta.

“These gardening projects can be vital for communities, so I have selected coordinators in each state to help faith-based organizations, nonprofit groups, state and local governments, and individuals create or expand gardens in their neighborhoods.”

The newly named coordinators will offer information and technical assistance to nonprofit groups, Indian tribes, school districts, private businesses, individuals and state, local, and federal governments, as they start or expand local community gardens.

The coordinators will offer advice on site location and planning, what and when to plant, soil surveys, soil conservation, volunteer recruitment, and links with government agencies. USDA has provided technical assistance, national publicity, and limited seed money to local gardening projects, and has created a national gardening web site.

“I will provide technical information to community groups who want to start neighborhood gardens,” Garrett said. “It will formalize something I already do.”

He is a member of the American Community Gardening Association.

All of the new coordinators are working with nonprofit groups and other partners to develop specific plans to assist community gardening efforts in their states, which may include partnerships, technical assistance workshops and public events in each state to encourage community gardening.

“Community gardens can bring people together, enhance communities, and help fight hunger,” said Glickman. “And, by giving school children a chance to plant and care for community gardens, we offer them a healthy and productive way to have fun and improve their neighborhoods,” he said.

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