An article on commondreams.org discusses the history of kitchen gardens at the white house, specifically those of Presidents past who grew some of their own produce (and grazed / raised their own sheep as well!). What a fantastic idea this would be in America, what in this time of recession and alienation from fellow persons and our life sustaining earth.
I try to think broadly about what might foster change in cultural attitudes toward nature, and I think that it would be revolutionary for the most prominent American family to consciously choose to grow their own produce; that is, to eat low cost, local, organic home grown food. Really, how hard could it be for them? Plus, planting time is almost upon us in the Northeast region, so I hope that someone in their social circle makes the good case to them soon. The article does mention the First Lady’s high esteem for the visual and healthful benefits of community gardening, which to me shows her pro-local foods stance.
Imagine if a broad swath of the American people, urban, suburban and rural alike began to think about where their food comes from and where they can purchase healthful, plant based foods locally and inexpensively. Everyone would win. Local farmers would see increased income (no need for subsidies Republicans!), the demand for diverse local crops would mean decreased threat of lost biodiversity (environmentalists rejoice!), local and organic foods typically cost less when more people buy them (penny pinchers can exhale!), and farmers markets are a great place to make easy new friends (Marxist theories of alienation be damned!)
As a nation, we’ve already passed the major hurdle of electing a brown-skinned President. Why not continue to encourage the American people toward better diets, just by example? First Lady Michelle Obama, who is featured on the March 2009 cover of vogue magazine has apparently become the new style muse for her generation. If her style of dress can command level of coverage on a magazine not inclined to feature Black American cover models, then the Obama Family’s choice of food sourcing would similarly blanket the pages of many a newspaper and magazine!
I hope that the Obama’s and their Chef (the first Female Filipina White House chef ever!) who cooks organic meals for the First Family think long and hard about what positive implications would result from the simple choice to reinstate a White House produce garden, and that they just go on and do it! And for those afraid to do-it-themselves, a new job market would open up for the agriculturally inclined to plow share suburban lawns in favor of veggies! maybe a few sheep grazing on lawns to reduce fertilizer and lawnmower usage is not too far behind!