Sunday, March 22, 2009

Michelle, get dirtier

I know that this is old news, but I am thrilled that a vegetable garden is being planted at the White House, and that along with Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia, a fifth grade class from a Washington, DC school will be involved in the project.  So in my mind, that qualifies as a community garden.  Moreover, Mrs. Obama is using the garden to set an example of healthy eating, by growing and consuming a variety of lettuces, spinach, kale, and other vegetables, as well as berries.  

Over the weekend there have been stories about the groundbreaking for the garden. Most have featured photos of Michelle Obama in her chosen outfit.  As much I hate to jump on the bandwagon of bloggers who provide commentary on the First Lady's fashion choices, I do question the logic behind the attire for this event.  The last time I wore boots, leggings, and a long sweater, I was headed to a party, not my plot.  But then again, if I knew I'd be greeted by photographers whenever I pushed open the MSG gate, I'd probably feel a little uncomfortable in my ripped jeans and T-shirts.

But now that I've said that, let me get to my point.  Apparently most of the maintenance of the White House garden will fall to the grounds crew and kitchen staff.  Perhaps it's unrealistic to expect Michelle Obama to take time out of her busy schedule to pitch in on a regular basis.  But she does manage to devote time to exercise--three 90-minute workouts a week that include weight lifting, calisthenics, and some cardiovascular activities.

Being the same age as the first lady, I can relate to her desire to stay in shape, and I too go to a gym and participate in some of the same aforementioned activities.  But has she considered that gardening is exercise?  Digging the garden plot can burn 340 calories an hour, and weeding can burn 306 calories an hour.  Digging dirt is similar to weight lifting, yet burns more calories and has the added benefits of fresh air and sunshine.

So hopefully Michelle will spend more time in the dirt.  As a role model watched by many, she can get her exercise, reduce stress, and use her influence to make gardening more fashionable.


Bryan Bunch said...

I'm with you on this, Sally. While I go to the gym (perhaps not often enough), I consider my real exercise program to be gardening--at least in the later spring and summer. About to start...

Dan said...

It will be great to see the white house garden grow. I wonder if they will start a web site about it.

Sally said...

I'm looking forward to starting, too. Still a little too cold in Boston today.

Dan, I think a web site is a great idea. It'd be great to see pictures of the garden's progress, and maybe their chefs can share some of their recipes.

StephenMcC said...

I too was taken aback by the garden atire - surely J-Crew has something more garden-casual in their Michelle O line - but the effort certainly has potential to take root:
My hope is that 44 himself will find some early morning time to stand and gaze in the new White House garden. From John Carroll I learned the mind-clearing, meditative joy of simply standing and contemplating the daily variations of the garden in progress. In horticulture as in government, sometimes one leads best by following. Thanks for digesting this event so meaninfully!

Mijohn said...

Oh, I thought this post was about me...

Hi Sally! Steve connected to me on Facebook and I got to your blog thru his link.

Glad you're still gardening and beautifying things, because like the "other Michelle," I'm a slacker. :)

Michelle Johnson