Yes, the White House will grow veggies, Michelle Obama says

A vegetable garden will sprout on the lawn of the White House.

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Sometimes, a tiny grass-roots effort does succeed in a big way, and maybe an online petition signed by thousands had something to do with it. Or maybe it was the influence of famous chef and organic food guru Alice Waters's one-on-one conversation with the first lady and her televised plea.

But Michelle Obama confirmed, in an interview for O, Oprah's magazine, that part of the White House's south Lawn will be dug up for a vegetable plot, reports treehugger. This harks back to World War II, when Eleanor Roosevelt had veggies grown at the first family's residence as part of the Victory Garden effort.

When breaking ground for the garden today, Mrs. Obama says that kids from area elementary schools will help plant the garden and harvest its produce. And she anticipates an educational component in the garden for the youngesters who participate.

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You have to assume that the garden -- which, CNN says, is supposed to feed White House inhabitants and guests -- won't contain beets. Just as the first President Bush disliked broccoli -- and heard all sorts of jokes about it -- President Obama doesn't eat beets. I haven't heard any jokes about that yet.

Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and other food-related books, had advised (jokingly?) against planting arugula, saying that it was too upscale for a populist garden. But Mrs. Obama says it will be one of the veggies in the garden.

If you're new to this discussion, here's some background info, as well as on Mrs. Obama and community gardens and about an effort to name a "farmer" to tend the hoped-for White House garden.

The garden is strictly symbolic, of course, but in a year that's seeing many more ordinary Americans than usual planting vegetables, it's considered a good move.

Note: We invite you to click here to visit the Monitor's gardening site, which offers articles, essays, and blog posts on a variety of gardening topics.

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