White House Says Yes to Edible Garden

(Video from Daniel Boiron's Eat the View campaign.)

On this first day of spring, I can’t think of a more appropriate tribute than the groundbreaking on the South Lawn of the White House -- for an edible garden. As described in further detail by Food section reporter Jane Black, Michelle Obama has given thumbs up to edible pastures at 1600 Pennsylvania, an 1,100-square-foot garden that will encompass 55 varieties of vegetables, berries and two bee hives for honey.

Word of the news started to emerge on Wednesday, when it was first reported on Obama Foodorama after blogger Eddie Gehman Kohan got her hands on a freshly published copy of O Magazine, which features an interview with the First Lady, who mentions that “We’re also working on a wonderful new garden project.”

The developments were then confirmed by The Note (ABC News), the beginning of a cascade of media coverage that includes confirmation of today’s groundbreaking on the South Lawn.

The idea for a White House kitchen garden is hardly new, but one that has not been fully put into practice since Eleanor Roosevelt was the First Lady. Last summer, while Obama was campaigning for office, two citizen campaigns -- Eat the View and The White House Organic Farm Project -- were busy advocating for the return of a First Garden, as reported in this space.

Does this mean a White House Farmer is in the offing?

By Kim ODonnel |  March 20, 2009; 10:15 AM ET Eco-Bites
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I am SO excited about this - it really made my day. I hope thta will inspire more and more people to look at ways they can grow their own.

Posted by: Lizka | March 20, 2009 12:02 PM

Surprise, Obama News Conference to be Held on the Lawn

In a surprise announcement the White House has confirmed that the President's second official press conference will be held on the East Lawn.

Posted by: aratunes | March 20, 2009 12:23 PM

This seems to be a major step in the right direction for the local/organic movement. Yeah! Kudos to Mr. and Mrs. Obama for embracing this worthwhile cause. Now I need to find a school that wants to come to my house and make a garden! My (realistic) gardening goal this year is to finish cleaning out what seems like a bazillion flower beds and grow some bucket tomatoes.
Btw,Kim: I made fried rice for the first time last night. So easy and yummy! Dinner was ready in about 20 minutes, and most of that was chopping! I'm kicking myself for never trying it before.
Do you have a secret for keeping the rice from sticking to the pot as it heats (besides more oil)?

Posted by: earlysun | March 20, 2009 1:13 PM

This is great news. I'm going to look into what I can grow in a container on my balcony with indirect sunlight.

Posted by: LittleRed1 | March 20, 2009 3:29 PM

I want a yard.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | March 20, 2009 5:26 PM

This is fantastic. I have already plotted out raised beds in my back yard in College Park. But I still need seeds and (cheap) good soil for growing. Does anyone know a good place to buy these items?


Posted by: H-Bomb | March 20, 2009 7:23 PM

This is setting a great example of family values. It is a sign that a family with children is living in the white house again. From the size of this garden, Michelle must be planning on lots of help from other family members.

More people should plant gardens. There is always plenty of wildlife to see in a garden; from butterflies to dragonflies and hummingbirds. There is nothing better than fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach or chard. Leave some room for some cantaloupe and summer crook neck also. My family members have planted a garden every year since WWII. There is nothing more All-American than planting a Victory Garden.

Posted by: redrockraven | March 20, 2009 7:40 PM

I want a yard with sun.

Posted by: ipayattention | March 22, 2009 4:05 PM

That is both very exciting and encouraging. I love gardens and have always been in love with the idea of the Victory Gardens that sprang up all over the country during WWII. Perhaps the First Lady's example will encourage more people to grow their own gardens or buy local. On a side note, I was not aware of how much greenhouse gasses food transportation caused.

Posted by: collegegirl1 | March 22, 2009 5:23 PM

H-Bomb, check out Behnkes in Beltsville on Rte 1. Great selection of seeds; they have heirloom varieties as well.

Posted by: JAC5 | March 23, 2009 12:41 PM

Arlingtongay, you don't need a yard! When I lived in an apartment, I put boxes of soil on the balcony and grew tomatoes. One caution, though. Make the boxes sturdy. I didn't and so had to shovel out the dirt when we moved, rather than carry out the full containers. In retrospect, plastic planters would have been better than my wooden boxes.
You can even do tomatoes inside by a sunny window in big pots. If you have pets, you may need to get creative to keep them from "helping" though. I put chicken wire over the tops before the plants grew, to keep my cats from farming. The plants grow up through the openings in the wire.

Posted by: GirlScoutMom | March 23, 2009 1:05 PM

it's wonderful to have a kitchen garden at the White House: The National Kitchen Garden.

That said, I hope they are plans for summer, because the published plan only shows cool weather plants, lettuce and such: they'll melt in the June heat. Need the heat lovers: tomatoes, eggplants, okra, corn, squash, zucchini, peanuts, sweet potatoes, NZ spinach, orach, purslane, Swiss Chard, chayote etc


Posted by: rowandk | March 23, 2009 9:40 PM

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