Food Not (the South) Lawns: Edible Gardens at the White House

Categories: Food & Health
Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2008 at 12:47 pm by admin

The International Herald Tribune posted an article last week by Ellen Goodman about one man’s campaign to convince the next President of the United States to plant a kitchen garden on the White House lawn. Forty-seven-year-old Maine localvore, Roger Doiron is the head of Kitchen Gardeners International—a nonprofit network of organic kitchen gardeners and home cooks from over 80 countries. He’s leading the charge for a food garden to be planted in the next President’s White House lawn. Were he successful in this endeavor, it would be a huge boost to the Food Not Lawns movement and drive home the precarious situation facing our nation’s food supply (food miles, pesticides, floods, etc.).

From the article:

The appeal of kitchen gardens – food you grow for the table – has been increasing pretty steadily. Taste bud by taste bud. But this year, a harmonic or maybe disharmonic convergence of factors led to a giant leap in the number of grow-it-yourselfers.

For one thing, there’s the rising cost of food – 45 percent worldwide in two years. There’s also the rising consciousness about the carbon footprint on your dinner plate. There is, as well, recognition of an international food shortage and moral queasiness about biofuels, growing corn to feed cars while people are going hungry.

Meanwhile, we’ve had more uncertainty about food safety, whether it was spinach in 2006 or this year’s tomatoes. And the floods that ruined millions of acres in the Midwest have undermined our easy sense of plenty.


[Roger] wants the candidates to pledge they’ll turn a piece of the 18-acre White House terrain into an edible garden. Or rather, return it into an edible garden.

After all, John Adams, the first president to live in the White House, had a garden to feed his family. Woodrow Wilson had a Liberty Garden and sheep grazing during the First World War. And, of course, the Roosevelts famously had their Victory Garden during World War II, a time when 40 percent of the nation’s produce came from citizen gardeners.

It’s too late for a Bush harvest, but the campaign to get the next president to model a bit of homeland food security has sprouted on Doiron’s website called


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