Friday, October 24, 2008
Wanted: a national garden
Michael Pollan has written an excellent article in the New York Times, an "open letter tot he next President", and I hope everyone who reads this blog will take time to read it, and pass it on. I also know that this farm will be writing a letter to the next president stating our concern and interest in the food policies of our nation and how they effect the world, the economy, the farmers and the environment, as well as health and obesity issues.
And why not a Victory Garden on the South Lawn? Wouldn't that be fabulous. Imagine, all those pesticides to keep that lawn as perfect as they keep it, and all that water. And for what? Good looks. I hate the concept of a green lawn. I always have. My first little bungalow I owned in '96, I grew vegetables in the front yard. It was not well received. The little 5 year old came over one day and said, "Daddy says you like weeds and beans and he likes grass." Oh, how true. When parents say, "but the kids need grass to play on..." Oh, I must contain myself. Sorry, bring a kid to me and I'll toss him out in a field, or in the woods, or in the hay bale, and they'll be in heaven. It's parent that need grass, so they can delude themselves that their children are 'cleaner and safer" from, heaven forbid, mud, dirt, weeds, thistles and stones.
Anyway, the concept of a victory garden at the White House is not a new concept. As Pollan points out, Mrs. Roosevelt did this in 1943 [and the USDA was afraid it would the American food industry]. But imagine what a role model the new President and his family would be, if they got up each day and puttered in the garden. School children from nearby areas could come and help take care of the garden and learn from their own President how valuable growing our food responsibly is. They would get much needed exercise. Blackberries and ipods would be left at the garden gates. Children and their families could learn about nutrition, and the sheer pleasure and accomplishment of growing, and sharing, food. Picnics between families of all races and classes could be held.
And as Pollan went on: "You should make a point of the fact that every night you’re in town, you join your family for dinner in the Executive Residence — at a table. (Surely you remember the Reagans’ TV trays.) And you should also let it be known that the White House observes one meatless day a week — a step that, if all Americans followed suit, would be the equivalent, in carbon saved, of taking 20 million mid size sedans off the road for a year. Let the White House chef post daily menus on the Web, listing the farmers who supplied the food, as well as recipes."
And sheep.Sheep would demonstrate that the small amount of grass left on the lawn can be naturally mowed, and fertilized. No noisy men in red suits with leaf blowers or mowers. Of course they need a rooster, for ambiance, and ok, I put some donkeys in there too. I am hoping the next family to reside in the White House will be the Obamas, and I think those two little girls need more than a dog, they need donkeys.