National Garden Month

Gardens For All: People, Plants, and Policy Conference

Sponsored by Drake University Agricultural Law Center in cooperation with the National Gardening Association (NGA) View co-sponsors

Gardening experts from as far away as England gathered at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in September for a two-day Garden Policy Summit. Dr. Neil Hamilton, director of the Agricultural Law School at Drake and chairman of the board for the National Gardening Association, organized the event. Sessions focused on how gardening can address social problems such as childhood obesity, food security, urban land preservation, community development, and plant biodiversity preservation. The conference is the first step toward creating policy statements that can be used to advocate for gardening programs at the local, state, and federal government levels.

Talks were offered on a wide range of topics, including School Food; Wellness Policies and Gardens; Gardens, Prisons, and Healing People; Gardens and Community Food Security; How Urban Land Trusts Are Promoting and Preserving Gardens; and Gardening and Biodiversity. Special keynote speakers were Will Rapp, founder and president of Gardener's Supply Company; and Theresa Marquez, chief marketing executive for Organic Valley Family of Farms.

The Drake Agricultural Law Center will publish the conference proceedings as a special report in 2007.

Co-sponsored by:

Seed Savers Exchange, American Community Gardening Association, American Public Gardens Association, Les Dames d'Escoffier International, the Center for Ecoliteracy, Slow Food USA, the U.S. Botanic Garden, Project for Public Spaces,Des Moines Parks and Recreation,Des Moines Founders Garden Club, the Gardens Writers Association, the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, the Iowa Food Policy Council, and the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture. Made possible by financial support from the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, with additional support from Organic Valley Family of Farms, Gardener's Supply Inc., and Drake University. A National Gardening Association Grow Campaign initiative, supported in part by Hilton Garden Inn, Subaru, Black and Decker, Ames True Value,The Home Depot, and the Scott's Company.

When You Garden, You Grow!

Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening during National Garden Month. Gardeners know, and research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place!

About National Garden Month

Why Garden?

"MULCH, MULCH, MULCH. Add four to six inches of an organic mulch, such as bark chips, beneath the entire root zone of trees and shrubs. Dona**t pile the chips near plant trunks, however. Mulch encourages healthier plants, reducing the needs for pesticides and fertilizers. Benefits of mulch: Retains moisture. Keeps soil temperature constant, reducing plant stress. Suppresses weeds. Gradually increases soil organic matter, feeding the soil. Attracts beneficial organisms that improve soil fertility and porosity. Protects roots and plants from mechanical injury. On hillsides and around rural homes, it suppresses the spread of brush fires."

-- Fred Hoffman, producer-host KFBK/KSTE, Farmer Fred

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