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Top 5 Sustainable Food Stories of the Year

It has been a great year for sustainable foodies -- here's the best of what has happened so far.

1. The White House Garden

Michelle, Sasha and Malia

Michelle, Sasha and Malia

Harkening back to FDR's Victory Garden, the Obama's made waves earlier this year when they decided to plant a garden on the White House grounds. This is one of the most heartening stories to emerge this year. It signals an understanding in the highest echelons of the Administration of the importance the food system has to the health of the country. And not just the physical health, but the health of our value system.

In one fell swoop, the President and First Lady Obama lent some of their cool factor to gardening. Lots of great reporting was done all over the blogosphere, but I'd personally like to reference Obama Foodorama's post on the topic. They are a great blog with some fantastic commentary and all the news you need regarding our President and anything to do with food, including some of the fantastic appointments he's made at the USDA. Go bookmark 'em now. The New York Times had this to say at the time:

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family's meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.

"My hope,” the first lady said in an interview in her East Wing office, "is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”

2. Yardsharing and the Gardening Explosion

Whether its due to the recession, or to the fact that so many Americans are waking up to the fact that our food system is, well, screwed beyond belief, the fact is that this year saw an explosion in community gardening, yardsharing and urban farming. This is a great development that has real impact. The power of people growing, maintaining, harvesting and eventually cooking and eating produce that they themselves raised is incalculable. Gardening and yard sharing are not new ideas obviously, but the impact these ideas are having on the culture at large is exploding.  In "What is Yardsharing?" Hyperlocavore Liz McLellan defines yardsharing as such:

What is 'yardsharing'?

Yard sharing is an arrangement between people to share skills and gardening resources; space, time, strength, tools or skills, in order to grow food as locally as possible, to make neighborhoods resilient, kids healthy and food much cheaper!

Why would I want to set up a yardsharing group?

Yard sharing is a way to connect people who love to garden, people who love healthy fresh food and people who have yards! Often people who have yards have little time time for a vegetable garden. And sometimes gardeners have trouble finding soil to garden in because they rent an apartment! Sometimes older people lack stamina and are socially isolated, finding younger people to partner in growing food together works wonderfully for all. There are all kinds of reasons it makes sense.

Here is a great video of Liz explaining what yard sharing is, and how to get involved.

3. The Mainstream Media Finally Wakes Up



Well it was bound to happen, but the mainstream media finally got around to checking in on America's broken food system, and lo and behold, they've actually done some pretty decent reporting on the issue. The Time Magazine cover, and the accompanying article by Bryan Walsh, mark a watershed moment for American food. Here is a short bit from the article, but really you should read the whole thing: