White House garden

How’s this for change? The Washington Post reports that:

On Friday, Michelle Obama will host a groundbreaking for a White House kitchen garden on the South Lawn… The 1,100 square foot garden will include 55 kinds of vegetables, including peppers, spinach, and, yes, arugula. (The list of vegetables is a wishlist put together by White House chefs.) There will also be berries, herbs and two hives for honey that will be tended by a White House carpenter who is also a beekeeper. The chefs will use the produce to feed the first family and for state dinners and other official events… The White House will be using organic seedlings, as well as organic fertilizers and organic insect repellents. The garden will be located near the tennis courts and visible to passerbys on the street. The whole Obama family will be involved in tending the garden, White House spokeswoman Katie McCormick Lelyveld said.

Fascinating. Of course, since it’s a garden and not a farm, they won’t run afoul of most of the regulations, restrictions, and challenges one encounters when attempting to do this for an income and not a hobby. Maybe they should try to sell the produce; that would open some eyes pretty quickly. It’s amazing how much more difficult things become when you try to earn a living instead of doing it for free.

Still, to quiet my inner curmudgeon, this is a pretty neat story and yet another indication of some potential shifts in our food culture. I’d sure love to see this example splashed all over the news, emphasizing the value of fresh food. Just one request: keep a good balance. If they go too Alice Waters on this, it’ll do more harm than good. Oops, there I go again. Congratulations to all involved for making an eminently sensible choice that will hopefully set a great example.

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