Restoration Of The Home Garden
The National Park Service is restoring the Roosevelt Home Garden and establishing a Victory Garden Education program for park visitors and youth around the country. This garden nourished the Roosevelt family from FDR's earliest days and, once restored, can do the same for 21st Century visitors to the site.
Large home gardens were typical features of the diverse, self-sustaining Hudson River estate farms. These farms grew a variety of crops in gardens, fields and orchards and maintained livestock like chickens, hogs and cattle to provide meat for the table as well as eggs and dairy. The Roosevelts' vegetable garden (called the Home Garden) was a central part of life for the family. FDR grew up playing in the garden, savoring its bounty, particularly the sun-ripe strawberries. His children and grandchildren helped work in the garden, pulling weeds and harvesting. FDR's memories of the garden helped shape his values, sense of identity, and deep connection to his Hudson Valley home.
Soon after the Roosevelt Home opened to the public in 1946, the garden was paved over to provide parking for visitors. Recently, parking was relocated to its present location, providing opportunity for a full restoration of the Home Garden. Research and planning assistance from the NPS's Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and the Environmental School of Forestry at the State University of New York, Syracuse have produced documentation and working plans to guide the garden restoration. The nearly two-acre garden was located just north of the burial site and rose garden and will be at the heart of every park visit where it will provide fertile ground for exploring both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's ties to the land and their deep interests in ensuring an ample food supply for the nation.
The National Park Service will operate the garden with extensive support from volunteers. Educational activities for all ages, still in the planning stage, will accompany the project. Our partner, the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Conservancy, is supporting the project with funding and a rich table of outreach activities and is working hard to raise support so that the project can reach its full potential. Noted food writer and sustainable food activist, Alice Waters, has joined the Conservancy to help advance the Roosevelt garden project.
Get the Dirt on the Restoration
We did it! We broke ground and have completed the first round of soil improvement. Our cover crops of oats and peas have germinated and will add much needed nutrients to the soil.
Spring, 2016. Site development. NPS has begun the preparation of specifications for site development, including the establishment of roads, paths, fencing, and utilities. The work is planned for Spring, 2016 in celebration of the NPS Centennial.
Education Planning and Food Distribution. With assistance from the NPS's Teaching the Hudson Valley program, we will complete plans this year for education programming, as well as identifying the best options for distributing produce grown in the garden.