Friday, March 20, 2009

White House Garden Confirmed

Along with a number of other media sources anxious to report the big news, Marion Burros of the New York Times reported that “Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of the South Lawn on Friday to plant a vegetable garden, the first at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II.”

The garden will grow vegetables to be used by the White House chefs in the preparation of food for the President, his family and guests, but Mrs. Obama also plans to use the garden to as an educational experience for children on the benefits of fresh food and good nutrition.
“My hope,” the first lady said in an interview in her East Wing office, “is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”
It is reported that twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot. Having done quite a bit of gardening myself, and having also worked with children as Montessori teacher in my pre-law life, I find that prospect refreshing, but also rather amusing. I hope they have a back up tiller on stand-by.

In any case, given the convergence of the obesity epidemic and the recession, the White House garden comes at a near perfect time. Not only does gardening provide an opportunity to improve our diets by adding fresh produce, it also provides an excellent source of exercise. And, a recent AP story, Dollars From Dirt, evidences the financial advantages to "growing your own."
The National Gardening Association estimates that a well-maintained vegetable garden yields a $500 average return per year. A study by Burpee Seeds claims that $50 spent on gardening supplies can multiply into $1,250 worth of produce annually.
Good gardening to the Obamas, and congratulations to all who advanced the return of the Victory Garden!


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