The Islamic Post Blog

First Family Sets Spring Pace with White House Garden by Khalida
May 21, 2009, 6:02 am
Filed under: May Volume I - 2009, National | Tags: ,

By Maryam Yahya
Islamic Post Staff Writer

(IP) –First Lady Michelle Obama took center stage on the South Lawn of the White House recently as she broke ground for a spring vegetable garden. Mrs. Obama and 23 fifth graders from Washington’s Bancroft Elementary School dug up the soil of a plot that measured 1,100 square feet. Her green-thumbed student helpers hail from a school that has already been gardening for a few years in their own schoolyards. Bancroft Elementary happens to be one of the thousands of schools in the United States that have committed time and energy into making their gardens a place of outdoor instruction in science, nutrition and economics. The students will continue to assist Mrs. Obama and the White House staff on a consistent basis by planting, weeding and harvesting the vegetables and herbs.
The Obama’s spring garden will boast 55 varieties of vegetables and herbs ranging from cilantro and basil to red romaine lettuce and sugar snap peas. Fresh berries will be available for the picking as well. A portion of the healthy produce will be used by the White House cooking staff for meals that will be served there and the remaining portion will be donated to Miriam’s Kitchen, a facility that caters to the needs of the homeless in the Washington DC area. During a recent visit to Miriam’s Kitchen, Mrs. Obama expressed her excitement about being involved with the homeless project there. “We are facing some tough times in this country and there is a moment in time when each and every one of us needs a helping hand,” said Mrs. Obama. “I want to, on behalf of the White House and the administration, thank the staff and the volunteers of Miriam’s Kitchen for their work here.”
At a time when many parts of the world are experiencing an economic downturn and as obesity has become a primary focus on a national level, advocates for locally grown food have garnered much attention. Worldwide supporters of local growing recognize the boons that are afforded to individual growers. The cost savings found in using less oil for transporting produce from industrial farms, reduced use of chemicals found in industrial pesticides and the reduced need for biological or chemically engineered fertilizers are just a few of the pros of local gardens. The Obama’s decision to use part of the White House lawn sends a clear signal to the world that local gardening is essential to keeping costs down and quite crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


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