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Michelle Obama Totally Rocking Out

February 23, 2009

michelle-obama-agriculture-mdEvery time I want to express pessimism about the Obama’s, Vilsack and food, they just continue to impress. It seems to require a certain degree of cynicism to make it on the internet, but I’m having a hard time of it these days.

If the decisions surrounding the food at the white house rest more with the first lady that with the president, than sustainable food advocated can look forward to the next few years with optimism.

Some of Michelle Obama’s comments during a recent visit to the department of agriculture wouldn’t have been out of place at last summer’s Slow Food Nation.

I’m a big believer in community gardens, both because of their beauty and for their access to providing fresh fruits and vegetables to so many communities across this nation and the world.

She’s not a policy-maker per se, but this kind of explicit support for good, fresh food from community gardens is a big step coming anywhere from within the white house.

She even went so far as to plant a garden at the department most closely associated with supporting the massive chemical agriculture of midwest factory farms. She brought them a small sapling taken from theJackson magnolia planted on the south portico on the white house, a tree that has lived at the white house for 180 years. After presenting it, she took a shovel in her hand and said simply, “let’s get this thing planted.”

During the election, Michelle was always presented as the less political, straight-shooting, no-nonsense Obama, making her the perfect voice for supporting such an obviously good idea as community gardens even if it might threaten the agribusiness paradigm currently (currently!) epitomized by the USDA.

Hopefully, Vilsack and Obama’s decision to plant gardens around the department of agriculture will help begin to change what the word “agriculture means” not only to the people working outside the office, but to the legislators and lobbyists that walk by as well.

Michelle Obama hasn’t said anything about the calls for a garden on the white house lawn coming from places like and thewhofarm, a decision which she ultimately has a strong voice in, but this kind of support for community gardens bodes very well for the kind of powerful symbol a white house lawn would represent.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2009 9:21 pm

    You might be interested in this blog entry about a more complete picture re: this press event.



  1. Vermont Community Garden Network news - 3/5/09 | Friends of Burlington Gardens

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