The other day, I received an message on my personal Facebook page from Michelle, aka the Green Bean of Green Phone Booth, with a copy of a video by Roger Doiron urging our new President (Eater in Chief) to consider turning the White House landscape into a working garden. It is not that far fetched since many Presidents had White House Gardens until we made it easier to truck food from all over the world. Please watch the short video above of Roger’s proposal.
Just to give you some background on Doiron, according to an interview by Mother Earth News, he has been involved in growing food in one way or another for thirty years. He is currently the Founding Director of Kitchen Gardeners International , which is “a nonprofit network of over 5,000 gardeners from 90 countries who are taking a hands-on approach to local foods systems development.” In addition, he is a freelance food and garden writer as well as a photographer.
Why the First Lawn?
“The White House has had food gardens at many different points and was even home to a herd of sheep in 1917 when President Wilson brought them in to replace the power mowers. In February, I decided to put the idea back on the public agenda by posting it on the Web site OnDayOne.org where people are making different proposals for what the next president should do upon taking office,” he indicated during the interview.
See a short history of the White House Lawn as a garden:
He further states in his Mother Earth News interview as to why it is important to make the First Lawn a garden:
“I really believe in the symbolic power of the White House as “America’s House.” Productive home gardens made sense before, and they make sense again given the global challenges we’re against. Sure, there are other projects that could be showcased and perhaps should be showcased, but this is a good way to start because it’s an idea that a lot of people can embrace. Gardens aren’t red state or blue state, but cross over political, social and economic boundaries. They even help bridge countries and cultures. There are gardeners from the United Kingdom and Australia supporting the campaign with the hope that it will give them an opportunity to make the same case to their elected officials.”
Inspiring! You bet. How can we help? Listed on the Eat the View website, are a number of ways we can make this lawn a garden reality whether it on the First Lawn or in your community:
“1) Identify a landscape near you that you think should be “edible-ized”. Residents of San Francisco are planting a Victory Garden in front of their town hall. The Governors of Maine and New York are already eating from gardens planted at their official residences. New school gardens are being dug across the country. What about your town, your local schools, and elected official’s residence?
2) Sign our “White House Food Garden Petition” which we will deliver to the President-elect along with a diverse collection of heirloom seed packets.
3) Buy a virtual parcel of the First Lawn and donate it back to the American people for the digging of a food garden.
4) Vote for the idea of a food garden on the White House lawn at the website OnDayOne.org.
5) Join this campaign and website. Use this site to share your stories of edible landscapes you’re creating, planning, or already eating.
6) Join our Facebook Cause.”
In addition, you can add a campaign widget to your website, social media, or blog supporting this endeavor. Perhaps create a edible garden on your “White House” lawn like Michelle is doing. (For us deer infested folks, perhaps in the back yard with a 8 foot fence unless you want to just feed the animals.)
I signed the petition and joined the Facebook Cause. My loyal readers, know I am already veggie gardening. (The trials and tribulations of the animal kingdom against my small helpless garden…the horror…)
Despite the list above, what is the most important thing you can do? Dorion replies:
” But the biggest help your readers can offer is to eat their own view by eating homegrown and locally grown foods. The more people who do it, the more impact we have and the easier it becomes to make our case to our elected officials to make the political changes needed to help the local foods revolution grow and spread.”
For more information, see Michael Pollen’s article in the NY Times entitled “Farmer in Chief” directed to our new president elect urging him to look at our present food policy. Mr. Pollen is the author, most recently, of “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.”
Hmm. Less carbon footprint, better tasting food, supporting a local economy. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Tell me your thoughts.
(PS Special thanks to Michelle for sending this video my way. We share a new found gardening bond. Everyone, check out Green Phone Booth, which is a blog by a terrific group of women, where ordinary women become super heroes. Each one of the women are amazing writers and you will want to come back for more after reading just one of their posts.)