Saturday, March 28, 2009

White House Vegetable Garden

Ground was broken last week on an organic vegetable garden on the south lawn of the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama led a group of students from a nearby elementary school as they created the 102-square-meter plot that will consist of raised beds planted with over fifty varieties of fruits and vegetables, including berries, tubers, legumes, greens, and herbs. One item that won’t be grown is beets. President Obama reportedly can’t stand them.

“I want to make sure our family as well as the staff and all the people that come to the White House and eat our food, get access to really fresh vegetables and fruits,” Obama told the fifth-grade students.

It will be the first such garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt started a “victory garden” during World War II.

The Obama’s hope that the garden sets a positive example and encourages people to improve their food choices for the benefit of their own health and the health of the environment.

Vegetable gardening saves money, it puts people back in touch with the earth, and creates a healthier, more sustainable, more diverse, and more decentralized food supply.

Hopefully this garden will start a trend. At a time of increasing awareness of the environmental costs of transporting food long distances, and when people in the US and elsewhere are working fewer hours and taking home less money, growing some of your own food makes more sense than ever. News of the Obama garden and the desire to reduce my grocery bill, motivated me this week to plant some seeds in my own vegetable garden, which had sat dormant for several years. My garden is much smaller, but will include beets.

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