Let Us Talk

March 21, 2009

A Garden Grows At The White House

flotus-garden-2    First lady Michelle Obama broke ground on a new garden near the fountain on the South Lawn that will supply the White House kitchen with fresh herbs and vegetables for meals.

flotus-garden-3-students-bancroft She was joined by students from Bancroft Elementary School in the District of Columbia. The children will stay involved with the project including planting herbs, vegetables and fruits in the coming weeks and harvesting the crops later in the year.

flotus-garden-1  “We’re going to get a big one in our back yard, the South Lawn,” she promised the volunteers.

Such a White House garden has been a dream of noted California chef Alice Waters, considered a leader in the movement to encourage consumption of locally grown, organic food. She has been appealing for change through the taste buds since the 1960s.

She organized a series of fundraising dinners in Washington before President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January that served foods purchased from local producers at an area farmer’s market to show how it can be done.

Reached Thursday at her Berkeley, Calif., restaurant, Chez Panisse, Waters said she was thrilled by the news.

“It just tells you that this country cares about people’s good health and about the care of the land,” she said. To have this sort of ‘victory garden’, this message goes out that everyone can grow a garden and have free food.”

Victory gardens were vegetable gardens planted during the world wars with encouragement from the government to make sure there was enough food for civilians and the troops. Waters says her family had such a garden.

Waters has been lobbying for a vegetable garden at the White House since 1992. Recent White Houses have grown some herbs and have practiced limited container gardening on the mansion’s roof to supply it with tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables. The new garden will be the first on the White House grounds in many decades, Waters said.

She said Michelle Obama always has been receptive to the idea.

“She talks about food in connection with children, and it’s a beautiful thing,” Waters said.

Waters also has pushed the administration to adopt her Edible Schoolyard project in which children plant their own produce to eat in the school cafeteria. Most public schools are serving too much processed food that is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic which can lead to chronic health issues, she argues.

Alice Waters on 60 Minutes:



Original post:




 Happy Spring!



  1. […] A Garden Grows at the White House – Paulette/Let Us Talk […]

    Pingback by 3/21- Views from the Heartland: News on Other Blogs « American Heartland Bar and Grill — March 21, 2009 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  2. Looks like the first lady is happily treating the White House just like an ordinary house. But anyway it’s for a purpose. I’m just wondering if she’s doing this for a secret campaign.

    Comment by Jonathan racing — March 22, 2009 @ 3:06 am | Reply

    • Hey Jonathan – I’m not certain that our FLOTUS is treating the White House as an ‘ordinary’ house but I do think she’s letting Americans know that it is ‘public housing’ – that the White House belongs to American taxpayers and we as citizens have the right to access within reason.

      Once upon a time in America, the White House was open to the public everyday and citizens could walk in a request a meeting with the POTUS.

      In terms of a ‘secret campaign’ I doubt it very much. Mrs. Obama has always said she has no interest in holding public office. She’ll have a very lucrative career in the public sector after leaving the White House.

      Comment by Paulette — March 22, 2009 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  3. Seems the First Lady will make nutrition one of her trademark issues. Definitely a worthy cause. In general, schools demonstrate their nutrition education everyday by what they do in the cafeteria … I’ll keep it at that.

    Comment by afrankangle — March 23, 2009 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  4. Really suprised to see Ms Obama start an old-school garden that wastes water, offers poor yields, promotes topsoil erosion, and reduces oxygen producing grass.

    Its a shame that they didn’t read on modern gardening and install a nice square-foot garden. A square-foot garden uses 20% of the space and 10% of the water of a traditional garden, but with 100% of the yield. Not to mention they look far nicer.

    Its much easier to convince Americans to install a 3- or 4-foot box of food than the monstrosity they’re building in the South Lawn. Especially since theres no digging or tilling involved.

    Also, the WH garden is not organic as it doen’t meet federal standards for organic. Use of the the term organic by the WH is likely a violation of federal law.

    Comment by Timothy — March 23, 2009 @ 10:12 am | Reply

    • Timothy — I don’t know anything about gardening but you seem well informed.

      I believe that you have information of importance that should be shared before it’s too late and the garden is installed.

      Go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
      and put in “First Lady Garden” as your subject and submit the information you just put on this blog. I think the First Lady would welcome your input.


      Comment by Paulette — March 23, 2009 @ 10:26 am | Reply

  5. Im really enjoying your posts. Keep up the great work.

    Comment by Tess — March 26, 2009 @ 9:43 pm | Reply

    • Hey Tess — thanks for stopping by, please come back soon!


      Comment by Paulette — March 27, 2009 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

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