Help Grow an Organic Food Garden on the White House Lawn

Join a growing group of food activists who are calling on the next president, or “Eater-in-Chief,” to plant an organic food garden on the White House lawn.

| July 3, 2008

A growing group of gardeners and local foods activists are calling on the next president to send a strong message on independence of the edible variety. Operating under the rallying cry “Eat the View,” these homegrown food advocates are urging the next “Eater-in-Chief” to convert part of the White House lawn into a food garden. We recently caught up with Roger Doiron, the campaign’s initiator, to learn more.

Tell us about your project to get the White House to plant a food garden on the front lawn.

It’s an old idea that I felt we needed to dust off and make new again. The White House has had food gardens at many different points and was even home to a herd of sheep in 1917 when President Wilson brought them in to replace the power mowers. In February, I decided to put the idea back on the public agenda by posting it on the Web site where people are making different proposals for what the next president should do upon taking office. With a boost here and there from different people, groups and media outlets (the idea has been written about in both the Washington Post and the New York Times), “Eat the View” has climbed into the No. 1 slot on the site.

So why is this initiative something the White House should focus on, considering they could just as easily use the lawn to showcase all kinds of other worthwhile projects?

I really believe in the symbolic power of the White House as “America’s House.” Productive home gardens made sense before, and they make sense again given the global challenges we’re against. Sure, there are other projects that could be showcased and perhaps should be showcased, but this is a good way to start because it’s an idea that a lot of people can embrace. Gardens aren’t red state or blue state, but cross over political, social and economic boundaries. They even help bridge countries and cultures. There are gardeners from the United Kingdom and Australia supporting the campaign with the hope that it will give them an opportunity to make the same case to their elected officials.

How long have you been growing your own food?

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