Watching the Presidential Inauguration this morning made me reflect on the message that President Obama has been delivering for the past two years: Getting involved and being of service.
It also made me think of a group that has been advocating for this at the grass-roots level, encouraging the new president to plant an organic garden at the White House. Their campaign, called Eat the View, at www.eattheview.org, was started in February 2008 by Roger Doiron the man behind Kitchen Gardeners International, a non-profit group committed to spreading home gardens worldwide.
They are encouraging President Obama to replant an organic garden on the 18 acres of the White House front lawn. The produce grown in this garden would be used in the White House kitchen and go to local food pantries.
The group believes that the garden would inspire people to create their own organic gardens and that Obama could be leading by example to meet the global challenges of food security, climate change, and energy independence. Organic gardens help individuals improve their health and ease the rising cost of food expenses.
This seems like a great way to symbolize his call to action that harkens back to the days of Victory Gardens, when the country embraced the idea of contributing to the greater good.
Eleanor Roosevelt planted a victory garden on the White House front lawn to encourage all Americans to plant their own Victory Gardens. As University of California garden historian Rose Hayden-Smith points out, “inspired by her example, millions of Americans planted gardens. The result? More than 40 percent of the fresh fruits and vegetables consumed during 1943 were produced in school, home and community gardens.”
Prominent sustainable food advocates have been supportive of this idea including Alice Waters and Michael Pollan, but they are not the only ones who think this idea has merit. Eat the View won the Grand Prize in the OnDayOne.org contest where citizens voted to help the President set a positive, global agenda.
Now, they need people to vote and urge President Obama to support the “9 for ’09” program. I am encouraging everyone to go to www.ondayone.org to register your support of this wonderful idea.
You can also sign the petition at Eat the View’s site, encouraging Obama to do it within his first 100 days, www.eattheview.org/petition.