Thursday, March 19, 2009

Obama's Personal Shovel-Ready Project: The White House Vegetable Garden

Michelle Obama revealed an exciting new project for the First Family: a White House vegetable garden to be planted out-of-sight on the south lawn. The U.S. Park Department is tasked with maintaining the White House grounds, but it Mrs. Obama says the White House Staff will be doing most of the gardening, not the Park Department.

Vegetable Garden (Photo)
Everything today affects the economy. The White House grows their own vegetables, and more entrepreneurs bite the dust - local produce retailers and growers will take a hit, especially if the White House gets serious and manages to grow enough to supply the Obama parties. Just think of the tax loss! But then again, maybe this garden is just for show. Mrs. Obama was chatting with Oprah and mentioned the garden idea. Obama FoodORama quotes from O Magazine:
Michelle Obama: We want to use it as a point of education, to talk about health and how delicious it is to eat fresh food, and how you can take that food and make it part of a healthy diet. You know, the tomato that's from your garden tastes very different from one that isn't. And peas - what is it like to eat peas in season? So we want the White House to be a place of education and awareness. And hopefully kids will be interested because there are kids living here. (p. 146)
The New York Times gives us a few more details:

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It’s just below the Obama girls’ swing set.) Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs.

Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said laughing. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, would probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.” ...the Obamas’ garden will have 55 varieties of vegetables — from a wish list of the kitchen staff — grown from organic seedlings started at the executive mansion’s greenhouses. The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatilloes and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter who is a beekeeper will tend two hives for honey.
PETA won't like this. That beautiful White House lawn has to be home to some pesky rabbits. Rabbits love veggies and flowers, which the White House has in abundance. Recently, the White House grounds were invaded by raccoons. According to Jake Tapper at ABC News, it was a "gaze" of raccoons (probably meaning a "bunch???)." All manner of traps were set with peanut butter, apples and cat food, but the raccoons were not interested. Hauling raccoons off the White House grounds is one thing, diminishing a bunnie population is another - especially when political correctness reigns.

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