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This Week's Facts:

  1. SDA Program Builds Gardens that Benefit Communities

  2. EPA Offers Valuable Tips to Begin Home Compost

  3. Celebrate Indiana's Natural Heritage, Participate in National Trails Day

Jewish American Heritage Celebrated in May

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, recognized by several federal organizations including the Library of Congress, the National Archives & Records Administration, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Visit their collaborative website to learn more about the featured online exhibits, Words Like Sapphires: 100 Years of Hebraica at the Library of Congress, 1912-2012 and Jewish Veterans of World War II.

Learn about a new oral history project and online exhibit Life After the Holocaust and more stories about Jewish Americans. The website also offers a teacher’s guide for further resources.

The NEH has a separate website for teaching and learning about Jewish American Heritage Month which features detailed facts, documents, lessons, and programs. The first thing mentioned on the website is a fascinating letter from George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island on the subject of religious tolerance.

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

Join the FDLP-IN listserv for the latest government information

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USDA Program Builds Gardens that Benefit Communities

People's Garden - USDAThe summer season is here! Do you take advantage of the various fruits and vegetables that summer gardens yield? The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) created a People’s Garden Initiative, named in honor of President Lincoln. When Lincoln founded the USDA in 1862, he had called it the People’s Department. The first People’s Garden began on February 12, 2009 in honor of President Lincoln’s 200th birthday.  Then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared the grounds surrounding the USDA in Washington D.C. the headquarters for the first People’s Garden.  

People's Gardens vary in size and type, but all gardens are required to have three components in common. They must benefit the community, in some cases by creating recreational spaces and in others by providing a harvest for a local food bank or shelter. They must be collaborative - that is, the garden must be created and maintained by a partnership of local individuals, groups, or organizations. Third, they should incorporate sustainable practices. The gardens might use compost or mulch made by participants. They might contain native plants or encourage beneficial insects. They also might exemplify water conservation, for instance, capturing rain in a barrel to water the garden.

Gardens located at private residences are not eligible to become People's Gardens. You can declare an existing garden as a People's Garden as long as it incorporates the three components above. People's Gardens have expanded to all 50 states, three U.S. territories and eight foreign countries. They are located at faith-based centers, on federal leased or owned property, at schools, and other places within the community.  You can search the People’s Garden Interactive Map to find a garden near you or visit the official website to learn more about the program, gardening resources, and other information.  

EPA Offers Valuable Tips to Begin Home Compost

EPA Composting ResourcesCompost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste currently make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

All composting requires three basic ingredients:

  • Browns - This includes materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs.
  • Greens - This includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.
  • Water - Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development.

Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.

Benefits of Composting

  • Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests.
  • Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.
  • Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.

How to Compost at Home
There are many different ways to make a compost pile; we have provided the following for general reference. Helpful tools include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head. Regular mixing or turning of the compost and some water will help maintain the compost.

Backyard Composting

  • Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.
  • Add brown and green materials as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded.
  • Moisten dry materials as they are added.
  • Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material.
  • Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. This usually takes anywhere between two months to two years.

Indoor Composting
If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store, or make yourself. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. Your compost should be ready in two to five weeks.

Build Your Own Indoor Bin

  • Drill half-an-inch diameter holes in the bottom and sides of a plastic garbage can. The size of the garbage can depends on how much compost you'd like to make.
  • Place a brick in the bottom of a larger garbage can, surround the brick with a layer of wood chips or soil, and place the smaller can inside on top of the brick.
  • Wrap insulation around the outer can to keep the compost warm and cover the cans with a lid.

Composting Resources

This information is brought to you as a courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a part of its Reduce, Reuse, Recycle program.

Celebrate Indiana's Natural Heritage, Participate in National Trails Day

DNR: National Trails DayBased on a Department of Natural Resources release:

June 1 is Trails Day in Indiana, as designated by Gov. Mike Pence, so it's time to hit the trail on Saturday.

Each year Indiana joins states across the country in marking National Trails Day as a time to recognize the United States’ trails system and its countless supporters and volunteers. Saturday marks the 21st anniversary of National Trails Day.

Hoosiers can experience the great outdoors on a trail, not just this Saturday, but any other day of the year.

To celebrate Trails Day, O’Bannon Woods and Turkey Run state parks, and Brookville Lake and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are hosting trail cleanup and maintenance activities. Several other local trail organizations will host events in communities throughout the state.

For more information about trails and Trails Day opportunities, go to the DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation website.

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