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Organic Consumers Association

Agriculture Department Seeds the Way for 'People's Gardens'

Most days, Ed Murtagh spends hours behind his desk in Suite 1028 of the south building at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, trying to figure out how to conserve energy, reduce waste and make other environmental improvements.

But starting this month, Murtagh will regularly get up from his desk, walk outside and literally make the department greener.

Murtagh is among 80 volunteers at the USDA who are lending their sweat and muscle to an organic garden created by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack along the Mall, on the grounds of the agency's headquarters at 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW.

Vilsack carved out the garden last year from an asphalt parking lot. He grabbed a jackhammer and challenged USDA facilities across the country to follow suit and create what he calls a People's Garden.  

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