Obamas plant an organic kitchen garden

Michelle Obama, White House chefs and school kids break ground
Daylife/Getty Images

Want to know where the presidential produce comes from? Take a walk past the White House. The answer may be planted right in front of you.

First lady Michelle Obama helped break ground on a new White House organic “kitchen garden” Friday. It will be the first working garden at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. since Eleanor Roosevelt planted a so-called “victory garden” at the height of World War II…

We’re just hoping that a lot of families look at us and say this is something that they can do and talk to their own kids about and think a little bit critically about the food choices that they make,” presidential mother-in-law Marian Robinson said…

The idea of a presidential kitchen garden, used year-round with different seasonal crops, has been strongly promoted by advocates for organic and locally grown food. They argue that the White House garden may help set a positive example for families short on time and money, who are often tempted by cheaper, highly processed food.

The presidential garden will be used, among other things, for growing such staples as butterhead and red leaf lettuce, spinach, broccoli, onions, carrots and peas.

It will also include a range of herbs, including sage, oregano and rosemary.

I hope they haven’t the range of rodents from squirrels to gophers we battle for dibs on our garden.

14 thoughts on “Obamas plant an organic kitchen garden

  1. Joe says:

    Maybe Michelle should call up Special Olympics and get some Special Olympians to come over and plant her garden for her!

  2. clare_bell says:

    Michelle Obama is no Eleanor Roosevelt. Wonder what happened to her premature “Victory Garden” while hubby was a senator?

  3. Joe says:

    I admire the first family’s willingness to set a positive example particularly for kids! Good for Michelle! It’s refreshing to see again a first family that is down to earth and leading again!

  4. Barbara Fahs says:

    Good for them! But they should consult organic gardening books and experts. Two things:

    1) There is no need to dig out the grass. Simply used an old tried-and-true permaculture method called “sheet composting,” or in more modern parlance, “lasagna gardening.” This method is so easy (check out the great book “Lasanga Gardening”): you simply lay sheets of newspaper or cardboard (another great way to recycle these materials) over the grass and then start layering goodies like compost, peat moss, and other stuff on top. You can basically plant the same day and it sure saves a lot of back-breaking labor.

    2) I seriously doubt that the lawn has been tended in an organic manner over the years. Typically, turf grass is heavily treated with pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. There are local ordinances for organic farms that state how long an area must be free of such chemicals in order for it to be called “organic.”

    Do your homework, Michelle and others involved!

    Barbara Fahs, author of “Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens”

  5. Real American Gardener says:

    Does anyone else feel a little bit of Marie Antoinette going on here? She is tilling the soil in tights and a skirt. Will Michelle really be out there weeding and doing pest control with her own hands or is that for the hired help? In other words, what is the point? We know that Mrs. Bush insisted on organic, in season veggies, purchased from local farmers-so this isn’t new. And does she really know what sized garden she would need to feed every person at every event held at the White House? Take a look at the inaugural menu. I am sure they did not use local, in season produce. I guess it is the pretense that bugs me.

    • keaneo says:

      And I feel a little bit of foodie as religion going on here. Supporting organic and natural and local and sustainable are all praiseworthy. Most thoughtful folks manage to do so – without being required to pass peer review by an “expert” – one with a crystal ball and x-ray vision apparently. Would you rather she joined the oil-based “skeptic” crowd and opposed what you say you support?

      Maybe lots of folks don’t come up to your holy standards – or is it that Michelle Obama is also a successful Black woman lawyer that trips your trigger?

      Would you rather have a husband-and-wife team in the White House who support kitchen gardening? Or a no-job-skills politico who invites the neighborhood kids to the rifle range? 🙂

      • Real American Gardener says:

        Wow, I appreciate that you even capitalized the “B” in black. I never commented on the color of anyone involved. In fact, I compared her to a White (with a capital “W”) woman. I don’t traffic in racism like you apparently do. I find any comments in that vein very offensive, as I think anyone should. If you knew your history, you would recognize that the comment had nothing to do with race or gender, but with the appearance of pretending to be something that one is not. Hilary Clinton did this when she promised to share her chocolate chip cookie recipe with America’s homemakers. It was a blatant act of pandering when she probably hadn’t baked a cookie since she was a young girl helping her mother in the kitchen. I don’t like this trait in myself or in anyone else. Just be who you really are whatever that may be!

        • keaneo says:

          What’s surprising about finding someone who prates about being a “real American” is a racist?

          The fact that you don’t recognize racism in your outlook is exactly what I’d expect from a “Real American”.

          Sadly. It’s what the whole world expects from a Real American.

    • newrepublican says:

      Keaneo probably wandered as far from the topic as did the RAG. Average American ignorant racism ain’t the topic. Even if RAG walked into the straight line easy as pie.

      I don’t know what “local” produce is avaiiable in the DC area in January; but, unless hothouse production is now part of “local”, the Inauguration menu would probably have been all turnips.

      Nope, RAG sounds to me like one more uptight election-loser searching for a somehow plausible excuse to sneer at the new president and his wife. What sticks out is the sneer.

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