As I have talked about in several posts, the idea of having an edible Victory Garden at the White House was the main goal of the Eat The View Campaign, and on March 20 (National Agriculture Day), their dream came true as the First Lady broke ground on an edible garden.
But they aren’t the only people happy about this garden. For the past nine years, I have been writing about, studying, lecturing, teaching, and volunteering on behalf of sustainable farming and farmers and I have often felt like a lone voice out in the wilderness. I confess that there have been many times when I just felt like giving up, when I wondered, “Why am I doing this?”
So, imagine my sheer delight when after years of thinking that it will never happen, it seems that people, especially influential and important people, have been listening, do get it, and that those who have worked even harder and longer than I to change our food system into something sustainable, managed to convince the President of the United States and the First Lady that growing an organic garden is not a luxury but a necessity. It’s a way to show others what’s possible and what can be done and what must be done. It is truly a revolutionary moment and I am so happy to be here to see it.
Eat the View was promoting the idea in the hopes that it would inspire people to create their own organic gardens and to show by example how to meet the challenges of climate change, energy independence, and food security.
But for me, it means something even more important; this garden will demonstrate how sustainable farming not only improves individual’s health, but the health of our planet as well. As I have been writing and discussing this idea, it has led many to ask the question, what exactly is sustainable agriculture?
A simple definition comes from one of the preeminent organizations in the field, the University of California’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. “Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals–environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.”
The main principle of sustainability they outline is that we must the needs of the present without comprising the needs of future generations and that stewardship of natural and human resources is vital. Something that I and others have been advocating for and that if adopted, can change the current industrialized system of agriculture that has led to so much degradation of our planet and natural resources.
And, just as I was finishing up this blog posting, I got another great piece of news, Michelle Obama is not the only First Lady planting an edible garden! Maria Shriver, California’s First Lady announced that they will be breaking ground on an edible garden in May. As stated in the press release, “It will promote community and educational outreach and encourage all Californians, especially children, to include fresh, healthy foods at mealtime and plant their own seeds for the future.”
After years of thinking that nothing would ever really happen, the steps taken by these two amazing women means that people will be talking about and writing about sustainable farming, community gardens, and edible gardens and that it will finally be at the forefront of the media, something that this LA Farm Girl has been waiting a long time for.