There is an opportunity for “community building” using a United States Department of Agriculture program, the People's Garden Initiative, at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.
Based on the original Liberty/Victory Gardens, if the government builds it, then volunteers work a People’s Garden to serve their community. There are 500 People's Gardens and four exist in Tennessee.
Mayor Karl Dean’s office said about 40 fairgrounds acres are available for green space due to floodplain issues. Additional land is on the south-facing slope for terraced green space or a greenhouse. Browns Creek, which runs through the 117-acre lot, has been labeled as unclean and unsafe, and soil samples are needed from the racetrack runoff. Bioremediation anyone?
There are approximately 25 million unemployed and underemployed who still need to eat even if they no longer receive income. The issues of food access and food security undermine homeland security. How can we afford two wars abroad with so many underserved here at home? Should policy support handouts or is it time to lend a hand to build self sufficiency?
Unclear immigration policy reminds us: What are the jobs that Americans won't do? Farming is risky, hard work, so let's reframe the
People's Gardens as new “national parks,” and a treasure where Americans come together to help each other.
We can make the farming jobs less labor intensive and extend the growing season with infrastructure. Use seniors and the disabled. Involve children with greater enthusiasm, and partake in another USDA Program, Farm to School. Integrate a soup kitchen.
Some people will get paid. Most will not. Compare with the Civilian Conservation Corps from the Great Depression era, where over nine years, the federal government paid 3 million people to establish the National Parks system. This is our new, national export, not “globesity” and war.
Will people work for food? Yes, especially if they don't have any food or if they are helping children or those who cannot help themselves.
Information regarding People’s Gardens in the U.S. can be found here:
Brant C.V. Keany