At last, something is happening at the White House that everybody can agree with: a new kitchen garden is being planted in the South Lawn. This is no small venture. The plan calls for 1,100 square feet of garden, with 55 different vegetables, herbs, fruits, and berries.
Of course, White House kitchen gardens are not new. The first president to live there had one. Woodrow Wilson did, too, and even grazed sheep on the South Lawn. During World War Two, Eleanor Roosevelt planted a vegetable garden, and 20 million Americans followed suit. At the end of the war, 40 percent of the country's vegetables were home-grown.
Can we ever get back to the level of interest in kitchen gardens that existed in Eleanor Roosevelt's time? Many people hope so. California's First Lady is planting a public vegetable bed in Capitol Park. The Department of Agriculture is planning a People's Garden on a paved area in front of the department's offices. Grass-root organizations (or should we say, vegetable-root organizations?), such as the Backyard Garden Project, are developing to help inner-city families start their own edible gardens.
It's hard to find a better way to stretch your food dollar than to start a kitchen garden. Also, you can enjoy fresh produce just by stepping into your garden. It's also food you can trust: you know what you put into it and on it, so you know it's safe. Best of all, though, is the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment you get when you walk out into your garden and pick what the family will enjoy for dinner that night.
If you want to find out more about the White House kitchen garden and other related stories, check out the links below.
Obamas to Plant a Vegetable Garden at the White House.
Shovel-Ready Project: A White House Garden.