By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
You’ve probably heard that efforts to persuade the Obamas to turn over some turf to a veggie garden have been victorious: the first family will be planting a “Victory Garden” on the South Lawn.
Technically, it won’t be a “Victory” garden per se, but will be the first food-producing garden to grace the White House compound since Eleanor Roosevelt oversaw a real Victory Garden during WWII.
Still, it’s a victory for local foodies and specifically Eat the View, the prime perpetrator of this movement to turn back the grass and turn up the turnips, which is now asking folks to thank the Obamas via a form at their website.
Eat the View had organized a year-long campaign and petition drive (signed by more than 100,000 people) asking for a White House edible landscape project that could serve as a high profile demo. The group’s mission is to plant the idea of planting produce in highly visible places, so the White House announcement this week that it would install a garden was a coup de grace.
Apparently gardeners know how to grow a good viral campaign. The Eat the View project, which has been featured in dozens of media outlets since it began in early 2008, was the brainchild of Roger Doiron, a local food advocate in Maine and the group he helped found, Kitchen Gardeners International, a non-profit association of more than 10,000 gardeners. Their motto “promoting the ‘localest’ food of all, globally” rather says it all.
“It’s a wonderful day,” Doiron said Friday after receiving confirmation of the White House plans. “It’s a wonderful day for gardeners. It’s a wonderful day for Americans. For everybody I think. It’s a very hopeful news.”
“There’s part of me that says, ‘What do we do next?’ ” But all subsequent projects — in schoolyards, on city hall and suburban lawns — should be easier with the First Family setting an example, he said.
“There are many different places where new gardens need to go in.”
The White House planting begins next week when Michelle Obama and a crew of volunteer elementary school students will break ground. Reports are that it will include 55 varieties of produce.
Need inspiration for putting in your own veggie garden? See Doiron’s charming video of his front lawn garden. When he first installed it, his wife visited with neighbors to alert them to what they were doing in their suburban Portland, Maine, neighborhood. The neighbors response was “overwhelmingly supportive” and as the garden took root, so did new social ties. “We know our neighbors better now because of that.”
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