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Green Victory! An Organic Food Garden at the White House

3/23/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: garden, president

When the Obama family moved into the White House, many people gave suggestions on how to green the first family’s home. 

The Obamas listened. 

For the first time since Eleanor Roosevelt grew a Victory Garden during World War II, the White House will have a vegetable garden. Michelle Obama, along with 23 fifth graders from an elementary school in Washington, D.C., dug up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot organic garden last Friday. The entire Obama family, including the President, was expected to help pull weeds in preparation.  

Michelle Obama shows elementary school children how to dig dirt for the vegetable garden. Photo Courtesy The White House/ Joyce N. Boghosian 

The organic garden is one way the White House is going green. The beds for the garden will be fertilized with White House compost as well as crab meat, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control bugs. The first family will plant cilantro , hot peppers, red romaine lettuce, spinach, collards, Thai basil and many other seeds for a total of 55 vegetable varieties. 

The kitchen staff at the White House will use the vegetables, herbs and berries to prepare meals for the first family, but Michelle Obama hopes the garden’s benefits will extend beyond that. She believes the children helping out will learn about healthier eating. 

Organic advocates around the country hope the Obamas’ garden will become a national symbol for eating healthier food and , more importantly, growing food locally and organically. Much of the nation’s produce is grown on industrial farms, requiring large amounts of oil to transport and chemicals to fertilize. If more people grew their own vegetables or participated in a community garden, we could cut back our dependence on these farms and live healthier lives.

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