In a symbolic victory for sustainable living and home gardening proponents, the White House announced that they will be resurrecting the tradition of planting a kitchen garden at the US capital.
First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to break ground shortly on the organic garden in conjunction with her agenda of promoting better eating habits for American families. Mrs. Obama plans to involve local school children from the Washington DC area with the planting, maintenance, and harvesting of the vegetables in a grass roots effort to teach families better nutritional habits. The idea for the current garden is to have a multitude of vegetables including spinach, chard, collards, hot peppers, and several varieties of lettuce.
Not all of the harvest is to be distributed to local families and soup kitchens though. The Obamas plan on utilizing the vegetables harvested there to become a main source of produce for their meals, and even had White House Chefs involved in the selection of varieties of produce. Proving that a small kitchen garden can easily provide delicious, organic, locally grown produce should hopefully inspire others to take up the task as well.
The garden is to be planted on the South Lawn of the White House and is should be comparable in size (about 1,100 square feet) to what the average home owner could replicate in their own back and/or front yard. The White House also plans to make the garden visible from the street, where it’s is rumored that even the President himself will occasionally be performing gardening duties, include weeding. Mr. Obama may indeed prove himself to be the populist President if he is spotted by the press and general public weeding the family garden.
The tradition of a White House vegetable garden dates back to almost 1800 when President John Adams planted the first garden, but to the surprise of no one, had fallen out of favor with the most recent Bush Administration. After urging from the food community, including chef and local food activist Alice Waters and author Michael Pollan, and circulating a petition signed by over 100,000 people worldwide, the administration announced plans to plant this garden.
A non-American news outlet, the BBC, was one of the first outlets to report this story, you can read the full test here.
For more information on organic gardening, check out Growing Your Own Food: Green, Cheap, and Delicious or Home Grown Food, What Could Be More Sustainable and Healthy?, both great articles by other GreenOptions writers.