A White House garden!

Ok, ok, sometimes my avoidance of news media makes me miss really cool things. Today I was reading Seeds of Change eNewsletter “The Cutting Edge,” and in it I came across this gem:

An Organic Garden on the White House Lawn

While Obama was still campaigning for the democratic primary, participants in the WHO Farm campaign drove a retro-fitted school bus around the country outfitted with a greenhouse and tomato plants on the rooftop. Why? To encourage the Obama administration to take a public stance on food and farming by converting 18 acres of lawn in front of the White House into an organic garden. This idea, to plant an organic garden on the White House lawn, has been championed by citizens across America, from Alice Waters to Michael Pollan to the 75,000 petition signatories to a proposal called ‘Eat the View.’ Eat the View, coordinated by Kitchen Gardeners International, began as a posting to OnDayOne.org, a Web site where people could make suggestions to the next president, and has developed into a movement, urging our president to showcase organic gardening on his own doorstep. Michael Pollan supported this suggestion in his New York Times article calling for a ‘Farmer-in-Chief’, and Alice Waters offered forth her services as an advisor to Obama’s kitchen cabinet.

…Since Obama has taken office, the Eat the View agenda has been awarded the Grand Prize as OnDayOne.org’s winning idea for a better world. Last Friday, it became apparent that Obama agrees, and the idea leapt out from the computer screen and onto real White House earth.

On Friday March 20, 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama broke ground on the White House lawn for an 11,000 square foot organic garden. Helped along by twenty-six elementary schoolchildren wielding shovels, digging forks, rakes and wheelbarrows, Michelle and other White House staff prepared the soil for the planting of over 55 varieties of organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and berries. The harvest from the garden will feed the first family, and be used for catering White House dinners. Michelle Obama has also declared the garden a means to educate children and communities about healthy eating. [Emphasis mine]

While there is yet to be a report of Obama seeding the first White House carrot, he has commissioned the White House chef to cook with organic foods, and has placed on his official Rural Political Agenda a clause to ‘encourage local and organic agriculture.’

I went looking for more articles, and found many, including one on the NYTimes website that included these details:

While the Clintons grew some vegetables in pots on the White House roof, the Obamas’ garden will far transcend that, with 55 varieties of vegetables — from a wish list of the kitchen staff — grown from organic seedlings started at the Executive Mansion’s greenhouses.

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatillos and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter, Charlie Brandts, who is a beekeeper, will tend two hives for honey.

The total cost of seeds, mulch and so forth is $200, said Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef, who prepared healthful meals for the Obama family in Chicago and is an advocate of local food. Mr. Kass will oversee the garden.

The plots will be in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.

How COOL is all that?! And I read about this just a day after a little rant about food issues, lol! Oh how I *love* reading about positive change, and I can’t wait to see how this new garden develops (I also can’t wait to have my own big organic garden eventually!).

I’ve blogged that my love of art (and any ability) comes from my mom…well, so does my green thumb and love of plants. I’m sure my mom is watching that new garden too, loving the idea as I do. :-)

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