[permaculture] Obamas to replant Victory Garden at the White House

Brent McMillan brent at gp.org
Fri Mar 20 13:32:41 EDT 2009

For Immediate Release

Roger Doiron

roger at kitchengardeners.org
phone: (207) 883-5341
cell: (207) 807-6364

100,000 Applaud Announcement of a New White House Food Garden

Environment, Nation's Food System and People's Health Stand to Benefit

(Scarborough, Maine) -100,000 people signed a petition asking the Obamas 
to replant a Victory Garden at the White House, and recent news reports 
indicate that they are about to reap what they sowed.

For advocates of sustainable and healthy foods, this harvest of good 
news was as welcome as the summer's first red-ripe tomato.  "I'm 
thrilled for the Obama family and for all who will be inspired by their 
example to grow gardens of their own this year," said Roger Doiron, 
founder of the nonprofit Kitchen Gardeners International and leader of 
the successful petition campaign, "Eat the View."

Launched in February 2008, Eat the View proposed that the Obamas replant 
a White House Victory Garden while planting a few extra rows for the 
hungry. The campaign used viral videos and social networking 
technologies like Facebook to grow a large support base, attract 
international media attention and help inspire a larger grassroots 
effort. In January, 2009, Eat the View won the "On Day One" contest 
sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, beating out 4,000 other 
entries and resulting in thousands of messages being sent to the White 
House in support of its proposal.

 Over the course of the past month, the Eat the View campaign has touted 
the economic benefits of home gardens as part of its pitch to White 
House staff members.  As proof, Doiron and his wife spent nine months 
weighing and recording each vegetable they pulled from their 
1,600-square-foot garden outside Portland, Maine. After counting the 
final winter leaves of salad, they found that they had saved about 
$2,150 by growing produce for their family of five instead of buying 
it.  "If you consider that there are millions of American families who 
could be making similar, home-grown savings, those are no small 
potatoes," Doiron said.

Although the White House garden campaign is now winding down, Doiron 
says the Eat the View campaign is just getting warmed up.  "Now that the 
Obamas are on board, we're going to be reaching out to other people and 
identifying other high-profile pieces of land that could be transformed 
into edible landscapes.  Sprawling lawns around governors' residences, 
schoolyards, vacant urban lots: those are all views that should be eaten."

History of Harvest at the White House

While the Obamas' garden and the online technologies that campaigned for 
it might be new, the idea of an edible landscape at the White House is 
not. Throughout its history, the White House has been home to food 
gardens of different shapes and sizes and even to a lawn-mowing herd of 
sheep in 1918. The appeal of the White House garden project, Doiron 
asserts, is that it serves as a bridge between the country's past and 
its future.  "The last time food was grown on the White House lawn was 
in 1943, when the country was at war, the economy was struggling and 
people were looking to the First Family for leadership. It made sense 
before and it makes sense again as we try to live within our own means 
and those of the planet."

Additional info:

Eat the View campaign website:


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