RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—First Lady Michelle Obama put shovel to soil on the south lawn of the White House Friday, breaking ground for an organic garden, the first White House vegetable garden since 1943. Back then, Eleanor Roosevelt planted a victory garden during World War II, a time when the country was also facing economic woes and uncertainty. “It made sense before, and it makes sense again as we try to live within our own means and those of the planet,” says Roger Doiron, founder of the nonprofit Kitchen Gardeners International, and the leader of “Eat the View,” a petition campaign that pushed for a White House garden.
THE DETAILS: The First Lady told The New York Times that the 1,100-square-foot White House Kitchen Garden will not only provide fruits and veggies for her family and White House guests, but will be used as an educational tool to show children the importance of local, organic food production. And yes, President Barack Obama will have to help weed.
WHAT IT MEANS: To organic gardeners and sustainable-agriculture advocates, what happened on the White House lawn Friday was as satisfying as the juiciest homegrown tomato—and more ripe with hope than a mouthwatering garden watermelon. Finally, a First Family that gets the connection between healthy living and a healthy planet! But you don’t have to be living in DC to get in on the fun. Start your own presidential garden this spring.
Here are 5 tips from Organic Gardening magazine for the White House gardeners, and those who would like to join them: