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Michelle Obama Launches First White House Vegetable Garden Since World War II


Twenty-six elementary schoolchildren wielded shovels, rakes, pitchforks and wheelbarrows to help first lady Michelle Obama break ground on a produce and herb garden on the White House grounds. Spinach, broccoli, lettuces, kale and collard greens will be among the crops to be planted in the coming week. The first harvest is expected by late April. A beehive also is part of the project. Assistant chef Sam Kass says some produce will be cooked in the White House kitchen and some will be given to a local soup kitchen where Obama recently helped serve lunch. Obama told the students that her family has talked about planting such a garden since they moved to the White House.

More Photos on next page.

In this image released by The White House, US First Lady Michelle Obama breaks ground on the South Lawn of The White House for an organic vegetable garden in Washington, DC. As US President Barack Obama hopes for green shoots of economic recovery, his wife Michelle is seeking a different return to growth, from the first White House kitchen garden in 60 years.

A diagram of the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House. See enlarged diagram here.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) and Chef Sam Kass (R) speak to children after taking part in the groundbreaking of the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House March 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Mrs. Obama was joined by students from Bancroft Elementary, who will be participating in the project from groundbreaking on Friday, to planting in the coming weeks and harvesting later this year.

Washington’s Not-So-Secret Garden

Read responses to the White House Garden idea in the New York Times Opinion section by the following luminaries.
March 21, 2009

Doris Kearns Goodwin, historian and author
Carl Sferrazza Anthony, National First Ladies’ Library
Roger Doiron, founder of Kitchen Gardeners International
Richard Reynolds, founder of
William Alexander, author
Deborah Needleman, gardening writer
Walter Scheib, former White House chef
Douglas Brinkley, professor of history

See opinions here.

Is a Food Revolution Now in Season?

By Andrew Martin
New York Times
March 21, 2009

AS tens of thousands of people recently strolled among booths of the nation’s largest organic and natural foods show here, munching on fair-trade chocolate and sipping organic wine, a few dozen pioneers of the industry sneaked off to an out-of-the-way conference room.

Although unit sales of organic food have leveled off and even declined lately, versus a year earlier, the mood among those crowded into the conference room was upbeat as they awaited a private screening of a documentary called “Food Inc.” — a withering critique of agribusiness and industrially produced food.

They also gathered to relish their changing political fortunes, courtesy of the Obama administration.

“This has never been just about business,” said Gary Hirshberg, chief executive of Stonyfield Farm, the maker of organic yogurt. “We are here to change the world. We dreamt for decades of having this moment.”

After being largely ignored for years by Washington, advocates of organic and locally grown food have found a receptive ear in the White House, which has vowed to encourage a more nutritious and sustainable food supply.

The most vocal booster so far has been the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has emphasized the need for fresh, unprocessed, locally grown food and, last week, started work on a White House vegetable garden. More surprising, perhaps, are the pronouncements out of the Department of Agriculture, an agency with long and close ties to agribusiness.

Read the rest of this story here.

1 comment

1 wallflowerstudio { 03.21.09 at 6:22 am }

This is wonderful. I’m so happy to see the First Lady setting such a great example by implementing a veggie garden at the White House. It’s a great educational tool for her to use with children and adults alike. I look forward to reading more about this!