Friday, March 20, 2009

Kudos to the First Lady

Hello and welcome. It has been awhile since I have added anything to my blog. Partly because I have too many things that I would like to write about and partly because I have been really busy at work and things have been kind of crazy at home. I did start several articles, but because I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to say, unfortunately they were abandoned.

However, with the news that Michelle Obama has broken ground on the White House lawn for a veggie and herb garden - surely everyone has seen her on CNN and many other news shows as well as many, many blogs spreading the news - I finally had something of substance to write about. I have signed every petition that I have come across sending the veggie garden idea to the President. I am elated and so very proud of our first family for taking the initiative and doing this. I truly hope that is gives others the inspiration to start their own family gardens.

In these times of hardship, to have your own veggie garden, however small, gives you hope and perhaps a comfort that no matter how bad things get you will always have something to eat. It was one of the reasons I started my own, and as you can see by the pictures I have tomatoe flowers - soon to be tomatoes!!!, and carrots, I can't tell you how good this makes me feel. Just to see the little tiny carrot seeds I planted actually sprout - I did that! Soooo cool. And all of my veggies are being grown in containers.

But this vegetable garden thing is not a new idea. Several past U.S. presidents had vegetable gardens on the White House lawn. Perhaps the best known was Eleanor Roosevelt who started a victory garden on the White House lawn in 1943, which encouraged millions to do the same in their own front yards. When WWII ended, home gardeners were producing 40 percent of the United States' produce. And Woodrow Wilson even kept sheep on the lawn of the White House!

The First Lady hopes that inspiring children will help spread the healthy eating message to others.

"My hope is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities," she said in an interview in her East Wing office. The plot of land given over to the new kitchen garden will measure about 1,100 sq ft. and will be visible from the street.

And this brings me to my new cause. Schoolyard gardens. I have become very interested with this movement, and have been doing alot of research on it as well. I came across an article by Brian Trelstad (google his name and you will learn who he is) on the history of school gardens in America from 1891 to 1920. It was interesting to discover that these school gardens emerged in hundreds of cities and manufacturing towns in the first two decades of the twentieth century. The push for this movement came from reformers like Fannie Griscom Parsons and her son who developed unique garden methods that reflected their own ideologies. Their efforts eventually started several national orginizations to promote the growth of urban school gardens. By 1915 three different bureaus of the Federal Government had committed resources to spreading the garden idea. The first American school garden was created in 1891. And in 1919, the United States School Garden Army had huge numbers of children producing food for the war effort. The school garden was used to teach children about nature, to green the industrial city, to Americanize immigrants, and to instill the ethics of hard work and patriotism. All of this was done to connect the landscape, the child, and the educator. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

To think that this forward thinking was taking place at the turn of the century, you wonder what has become of this movement. Modernization perhaps and the advent of processed foods. But when we take a look at all the poison that we have been feeding ourselves and our children, well, it just boggles the mind. Now I can take heart in the actions of our President and his family.

There are several organizations that are promoting school garden projects. Amont them are:

And this was what first got me interested in how we feed our children:

Just listen to the kids in this video and count the show of hands on who has a home veggie garden.

And can enough be said of Roger Doiron and the site for really promoting the idea of the White House vegetable garden.

Visit these sites and maybe you will become as excited as I am about what is happening in this country.

Okay, I'll step down from my soapbox now. But I have a little story to tell. I have been using a chart of astrological signs and moon phases to do my planting. My tomatoes were purchased, but the carrots, lettuce, spinach, and bush beans were all started from seed using my chart. Everything that is except the bush beans. I was a day late in getting the seeds into the dirt. Now I find that everything else is doing really, really well, but the beans, well, they are just not growing. The two that did come up (I planted six beans) had rotten tops and looked like something had chewed on the stems. Seriously. So, on the next plant day on the chart, I will try again and see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

Take care and come back soon. K (aka Mad Beach Maven)

Even Woodrow Wilson kept sheep on the lawn at the White House!

1 comment:

Kate and Crew said...

YAY! I'm so happy about the Obama's bringing gardening back to The White House too. Hopefully it'll be yet another source to inspire another generation of children to get their hands dirty and plant some of their own food. Great post!!