March 20, 2009

Clearly inspired by the goings on at Beyond Green World HQ (where planting has already begun), First Lady Michelle Obama today began the work of building a vegetable garden on the front lawn of the White House. Notably, fifth graders from a local DC public school -- a school that already has its own vegetable garden -- will be helping out throughout the growing season.

This is something that many people have wanted to see for many years -- and to collaborate with an existing school garden program qualifies it as an unmitigated boon (and those resident bee hives aren't bad either). The garden plan published in the NYT show the garden to be ambitious and its harvests likely plentiful. Good reactions can be had from Civil Eats and Ob Fo.

But I have to say that at this point I'm with Jill Richardson and Fair Food Fight. As long as this is the camel's nose and not a fig leaf, I'm fine with it. But I need to see some serious reform. I need to see some indication that government will put real muscle behind changing this country's indefensible food policy. Because President Obama, the First Lady, and even Tom Vilsack, can say all the right things (and, with the exception of ethanol, they tend to) - but if the administration wilts in the face of pressure from Big Ag and retrograde reps like House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson, it will all be for naught. I will accept the garden on the front lawn of the White House as a down payment. But the balance will come due soon.

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