Today the front lawn of the White House will be planted with an organic vegetable garden, as reported in the New York Times. The 1,100 square foot garden is designed to include fifty-five vegetables including the slightly bitter frou-frou salad staple, arugula – a bit like the amunakola that is eaten in Sri Lanka – for whose presence in the then Senator’s diet, he was ridiculed as being “out of touch.” It will also be planted with berries and herbs, and two hives will be established for honey that will be tended by a White House carpenter who is also a beekeeper. The produce will be used to feed not only the Obamas but for state and official dinners and events.
In a country where people are judged by the quality of lawns maintained with the use of 80 million pounds of pesticides – ten times more chemical pesticides than farmers use on their crops according to the Environment & Human Health, Inc. – this is big news. The single, most important issue for kids and youth in this country, according to the pollsters, is the protection and care of the earth. I’m glad that we have a First Lady willing to get her own hands dirty to show that she has heard them, and the courage to lead the initiative. These are her words: “My hope is that (the children will) begin to educate their families and that will, in turn educate our communities.”