Friday, January 30, 2009

Tear up that lawn!

The idea of a garden on the White House lawn, first executed by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943, is taking root again.  "Eat the View" is the name of a campaign started by Kitchen Gardeners International, a Maine non-profit that promotes sustainable local food systems.  The plan to increase "edible landscapes" includes online petitions to "Plant a Victory Garden at the White House" (at their site as well as through Facebook), a link to contacting President Obama, appeals to ask other elected officials to convert landscapes (such as the yards of their residences) to gardens, and an opportunity to buy a "virtual parcel" of the White House lawn, with proceeds helping to fund the cause.  As I write this, over 1,400 supporters have registered with the Eat the View web site and over 17,500 Facebook users have signed the petition.

Another noteworthy effort is The White House Organic Farm Project (a.k.a. The Who Farm).  According to the organization's petition, the farm could serve as an outdoor classroom for children and Americans with disabilities, provide food for the President, his family, and White House guests, and serve as an example of organic practices such as using heirloom seeds and topsoil nourished by compost.  Upon the recommendation of the author Michael Pollan, five acres of the South Lawn could be allocated.

The Who Farm organizers have expressed their support for the Eat the View idea by encouraging their site visitors to vote for the idea when it was under consideration in a contest at the Ideas for Change in America collection of causes.  Eat the View also won the On Day 1 contest, in which ideas to improve the world on many fronts had been proposed and judged.

It will be interesting to find out if these petitions will make a difference when and if they reach Obama's desk.  If our wait list for a plot at the MSG is any indication, I would guess that many more Americans would support these efforts.


Bryan Bunch said...

I worry that Obama and Michelle are both essentially city folk (and so are most of the cabinet). They may not appreciate the virtues of a garden, organic or otherwise. The White House Rose Garden is something else entirely.

Dan said...

I think that would be a great idea if it was to be implemented. Being about to feed ourselves is a crucial skill that regretfully most people don't have any knowledge of. It would be a great incentive for others to learn.

I have notice produce at the grocery store that has been grown in china, most notably garlic. This really is a scary sign to me.

Sally said...

It's a tradeoff living in the city. Who knows what city folk would do if given a plot of land? Despite the demands on their schedule, I'd be surprised if they weren't at least intrigued by the idea.

Dan, I agree that it's disturbing to see produce from so far away in the store. How much fossil fuel went into getting that garlic to North America? Bananas are one thing; I'm surprised that garlic has to come from so far away.