Farms Race: The Obama's White House Garden Has Given Fire to an International Movement
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APPLE members aren't hiding the fact that they're fast-tracking the initial planting of their 280-square-foot garden in an attempt to make their patch the nation's first statehouse vegetable garden.
"[We] tried to beat the Obamas to the punch, but second place is nothing to sneeze at!" wrote APPLE member Scott Sawyer on the Transition Vermont blog.
While this farms race is run, it's worth noting that several state leaders have had vegetable gardens at their official residences for years.
- Maine Gov. John Baldacci has been tending a home garden at the governor's mansion for years.
- Former Ohio first lady Hope Taft put in a garden at the governor's residence in 2001.
- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal inherited predecessor Kathleen Blanco's garden.
- Also predating the Obamas' garden is the victory garden planted at San Francisco City Hall last summer.
While the vegetable garden in front of Baltimore's City Hall has yet to be planted, Mayor Sheila Dixon is quick to point out that the plot was being planned before the White House garden was announced.
"We are not copying!" she emphasized, pointing out that her garden, at 2,000 square feet, will be almost twice as large as the Obamas'.
Doiron, the widely acknowledged force behind the clamor for the White House garden, is now shifting gears. He doesn't plan to organize any more calls for gardens.
Now, he sees a growing need to support the many similar efforts now under way worldwide. He's excited to cheer them on, offer whatever advice he can and help publicize their efforts.
"There's a petition drive to get the government of Georgia to start a garden; there's a large garden going into the middle of Flint, Mich.'s municipal complex, could be as large as 3 acres; day before yesterday, a garden went in in front of the town hall in Kingston, N.Y. We've been contacted by groups in Texas, the United Kingdom, Australia…"
Once these gardens are put in, he says, they'll begin generating a different kind of buzz as the gardens are maintained and harvested.
Obama promised that her entire family will help with the weeding "whether they like it or not." If true, this promises to create more than photo ops the likes of which we've never seen.
Soon we may begin hearing about revelations reached and decisions made while crouching in the garden rows, because President Barack Obama is soon to discover something that farmers and gardeners have known forever: There's something about gardening that stimulates the intellect and does more for a conversation than the strongest cup of coffee.
It may not be long until members of the president's staff are summoned to the garden to help pull weeds, like it or not. Not because the weeds are getting out of control, but because gardens are where some of mankind's greatest brainstorming sessions take root.
And when we start hearing about the results of these garden sessions, the first garden's ripples will start to grow into waves.
Ari LeVaux writes a syndicated weekly food column.