Eleanor Roosevelt’s World War II-era Victory Garden was a shining example to Americans that they could grow their own food. And now Michelle Obama is following in her footsteps, taking up the cause by planting an 1,100 square foot edible garden on the South Lawn of the White House. Her hope is to educate children about locally grown food, inspiring them to eat healthier and encourage their families and community to follow suit.
Petitions for an organic garden at the White House have been circulating for some time now. The new edible garden will have over 55 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as chosen by the White House Kitchen Staff. According to assistant head chef, Sam Kass, the cost of the organic seeds and mulch was only $200. They will plant tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro, various lettuces, spinach, swiss chard, collards, kale, arugula, berries, herbs, including anise hyssop and Thai basil (there will not be any beets though as President Obama does not like them). Also present will be two hives for honey and a compost pile.
First lady Obama, along with 23 fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School, will begin the garden by digging up the soil, then planting and eventually harvesting the vegetables. The White House Kitchen Staff is looking forward to planning their meals around the vegetables that are in season. Food grown in the garden will be used as ingredients for family meals as well as state dinners and other official events.
We are excited to see the First Family engaging in such a sustainable activity and being such a good example that local and organic food is possible. Michelle wanted to emphasize that organic and local food doesn’t necessarily have to come for your own personal garden, as many people don’t have the space. For those that have limited space, container gardening on a deck, balcony or a wall is a great way to produce some of your own food. And for those who have no space at all, buying local and organic is becoming easier and easier as more local markets spring up and expand around the country.