Sunday, March 01, 2009

"If You Don't Have a Backyard, Dig Up the Front One!"

Kitchen Gardeners International is hosting a petition drive to encourage President Obama to develop an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn.

The idea, of course, is not new. John and Abagail Adams planted a garden at the White House in 1800. The most famous White House garden was initiated by Eleanor Roosevelt to spur on a nationwide gardening movement to support the war effort and produce more food. It is estimated that "victory gardens" all over the country at one time produced about 40% of the nation's supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. The caption of this post comes from one of the campaign slogans of the effort.

For an interesting story of how some in the media helped to promote the victory garden campaign, visit Sacramento History Online. McClatchy Newspapers sponsored "a program of enlisting citizens to tear out their front and backyards and plant gardens." Bob Handsacker, a photographer for the Sacramento Bee, one of the McClatchy newspapers, produced a 16mm color motion picture film, Gardening for Victory that is a delightful step back in time. You can watch excerpts on the Sacramento History Online website, but don't try to adjust your volume - they are silent film clips.

Today's petition drive is part of the Eat the View campaign. Their goal is to encourage the planting of "healthy food gardens in high-profile, high-impact places" and as a result, to "inspire millions of Americans and people around the world to grow some healthy, tasty, and environmentally-responsible food of their own."

Sign the petition at Kitchen Gardener's Facebook page.


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