Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Obama’

Will the White House Plant a Row for the Hungry?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

If she hasn’t already, Michelle Obama should consider donating a portion of the White House harvest to local food banks. As tough economic times take their toll, the lines are growing longer at food pantries and soup kitchens across the country, and donations reportedly are not keeping pace with demand. Since 1995, American gardeners have donated more than 14 million pounds of herbs and vegetables to feed their neighbors as part of Plant a Row for the Hungry, a program run by the Garden Writers Association. Want to know how you can get involved? Read all about it here.

Kale is Cool!

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Today, 23 fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, D.C. will help MIchelle Obama dig up the new 1,100-square-foot White House vegetable garden. In an interview, the First Lady said she hopes to help make it cool for kids to grow and eat fresh fruits and veggies. The students from the Bancroft school will also help plant and harvest, and they’ll get to cook what they pick with the chefs in the White House kitchen. Of course produce from the patch will also be used for Obama family meals and formal dinners.

The  plot will be located on the South Lawn, in a spot visible from E Street, just below the Obama girls’ new swing set. For now, spring veggies like spinach, snap peas, and lots of lettuce will be growing in the garden. There’s a separate bed for raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, and others for rhubarb, mint, and kale and collards. Wanna see what else is growing? The New York Times has the scoop, including the complete garden plan and a view via Google Earth.

Let Them Eat Cukes

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

The word is out—there will be a vegetable garden at the White House, overseen by Michelle. Obama Foodorama has the details.

Beyond the Obama Biceps

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Finally, the coverage of Michelle Obama is moving beyond her pair of sculpted shoulders and shapely biceps. As noted in today’s New York Times, the importance of eating healthy, fresh, local foods is emerging as one of her signature issues. Last week she even rhapsodized about the steamed broccoli she was serving to homeless men and women at Miriam’s kitchen, which serves only fresh food, nothing canned or processed, to the poor.

Some of the tasty tidbits in the article: The White House gets fresh fruits and vegetables from farms in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and even served organic wine to the nation’s governors at the first big post-inaugural White House bash last month. The First Lady is taking a higher profile on the importance of healthy eating than Laura Bush, who insisted that fresh, organic foods be served at the White House but didn’t broadcast the fact—you know how some Republicans feel about arugula-eating elitists.  

Michelle Obama, Locavore-in-Chief?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

On Friday, I bemoaned the fact that Michelle Obama missed an opportunity to promote healthy fresh foods when she appeared at the USDA, which had just announced a plan to create community gardens at its facilities worldwide, bearing a magnolia seedling instead of a tiny apple tree or other edible plant. But on Sunday, according to Marian Burros of the New York Times, the First Lady put in a plug for local and sustainable food and for healthy eating during a tour of the White House kitchen:

When food is grown locally, she said, “oftentimes it tastes really good, and when you’re dealing with kids, you want to get them to try that carrot.”

“If it tastes like a real carrot, and it’s really sweet, they’re going to think that it’s a piece of candy,” she continued. “So my kids are more inclined to try different vegetables if they are fresh and local and delicious.”

Now she should get that organic garden growing on the White House grounds…

Alice Waters to the Rescue

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Recommended reading: the op-ed piece in today’s New York Times by Alice Waters and colleague Katrina Heron. They describe how the USDA’s $9 billion-a-year school lunch program has become a way to distribute unhealthy high-fat commodity food—some of the same ingredients found in fast food—to our schools, and how the resulting meals routinely fail to meet basic nutritional standards. They recommend scrapping the program and starting from scratch, pointing out that advocacy groups like Better School Food have managed to work with local farmers to provide kids with healthy, fresh food.

Last night on the news, I watched Michelle Obama, continuing to make the rounds to various federal agencies, arrive at the USDA bearing a gift—a magnolia seedling propagated from a tree planted on the White House grounds by Andrew Jackson. She said she wanted it to grow in one of the new community gardens that will be created at every USDA facility worldwide. It was a nice gesture, but a missed opportunity. Imagine if MIchelle had brought a tomato or apple seedling instead and used the occasion to promote healthy, organically grown fruits and vegetables for the nation’s children—she is, after all, a former hospital administrator. Another good thing she could do is create a model organic garden at the White House to advance the movement for healthy food and healthy kids.