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Obamas to have organic veggie garden at White House

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Looks like the Obamas are planting some vegetables!  This comes from the NYT:


WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets — the president does not like them — but arugula will make the cut.

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.

“My hope,” the first lady said in an interview in her East Wing office, “is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot, in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It is just below the Obama girls’ swing set.)

Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs. Virtually the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said with a laugh. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, will probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.”

post #2 of 5

That's awesome.  I'd heard there was some talk about putting a garden in at the White House, and I'm glad they went through with it!

post #3 of 5

That's totally cool!  Although sad Obama doesn't like beets.  I think they're delicious. 


But it's awesome that it's going to be organic and that they'll focus on edible foods.  And the educational component is a nice touch for sure.

post #4 of 5

Looks like the Obamas have broken ground on their organic garden (apparently named the White House Kitchen Garden).  The First Lady herself was armed with a rake pulling up some of the South Lawn.


post #5 of 5

Just for information to those who are so excited about the 'new' white house garden.  Nothing more than political spin.


Many don't know that the White House already has a rooftop garden. According to Walter Schieb, executive chef under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, there is a small vegetable garden which is used for White House cooking. That's a great start, but food activists are hoping for a symbolic, and larger garden which would be visible by the millions of visitors to the White House.

Walters said both the Clintons and George and Laura Bush were surprised by what already had been done to conserve energy when they moved into the White House.

"We tried to do more than the average bear," he said, adding that the first lady's garden grew herbs during both administrations, and that limited container gardening was done on the mansion's roof to supply the White House with tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables.

The previous White House chef, Walter Scheib, pointed out in a recent blog post—and in two even more recent, in-depth interviews with the blog Obama Foodorama—that Comerford was unfairly dismissed by the foodie set before they even knew her credentials. “Poor Cris,” he told the blog. “She’s been treated like so many pounds of chopped liver.” Scheib was the White House executive chef from 1994 to 2005, and Comerford worked as one of his assistants, becoming his favorite associate and then taking over for him when he left. As he says of their time working together, “Nearly all the products used was [sic] obtained from local growers and suppliers, in many cases directly from farm stands and growers. There also was a small garden on the roof of the White House where produce was grown for the families’ use.” During the Clinton administration, Scheib spent a lot of his time on the job “fulfilling Hillary Clinton’s mandate of bringing contemporary American cuisine and nutritionally responsible food to the White House,” he says. More surprisingly, Scheib’s account suggests that the recent administration may have been even more sustainability-minded in matters of the home kitchen: “Laura Bush to her credit and probably to your readers [sic] surprise was adamant that in ALL CASES if an organic product was available it was to be used in place of a non-organic product,” he wrote on his blog, adding that Comerford has always supported and continues to support these principles of sustainability.

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