Friday, March 20, 2009

Vegetable Garden at the White House: First Step to Addressing Our Food System?

In today’s New York Times, we learn that Michelle Obama is taking steps to plant a vegetable garden at the White House, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden during World War II. The Obamas have been approached by food advocates for months to grow a vegetable garden that would symbolize the importance of eating local foods. This pressure, along with Michelle’s interest in children’s health and nutrition, has spearheaded this project.

Though there is a lot to be excited about, the Obamas have to move beyond symbolism and sending messages to families on food and health to address a more holistic approach to our country’s food system. President Obama will have to work to transform our agricultural industry and critically look at food production in our meat industry and on industrial farms which often work against producing and selling healthy foods to Americans.

I am curious to see if the Obamas message of eating local will lead to supporting educational programs and jobs in sustainable agriculture for urban comminutes, to creating policies that support sustainable food systems.
Sharon Wong
Turf/Project Director

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