Forget the Rose Garden: First Lady Michelle Obama is starting a vegetable garden at the White House. It sounds like Mrs. Obama plans to use the garden as a demonstration garden (my lovely wife will love this!) to teach local kids about the benefits of growing your own food. Kids from Bancroft Elementary School will help with the garden from planting time to chow time, and Mrs. Obama says the President himself will help pull weeds.
This garden is just what sustainability activists were hoping for. There is no downside to knowing the leader of the free world will get to eat some homegrown food. Plus, there is important symbolism (as the Obama Foodorama notes) in seeing at least a small part of the President's 16-acre yard turned from decoration to practical use. It's even right next to the kids' new South Dakota swingset, where it can remind the kids that if we want to eat, we have to take care of the earth.
Eleanor Roosevelt planted the last Victory Garden on the White House grounds during World War II, over the objections of the USDA, which feared the garden might hurt the food industry. Yeah, sure wouldn't want people growing their own food and better nutrition and more self-reliance. Think of Mrs. Obama's gardening initiative as a new Victory Garden to promote healthy food, sustainable agriculture, and good old American do-it-yourself spirit.
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