Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mr. Rodale Goes to Washington

You know that big white mansion the president lives in? The one on Pennsylvania Avenue, with the columns and the fountain and the armed guards? You own that mansion. It's yours, roughly one three hundred millionth of it anyway, and as such your taxes fund its upkeep. When it needs a new roof, you pay for it. When the presidential plumber comes to fix a plugged up toilet (Oh Karl, not again!), it's deducted from your paycheck. When the paint starts to peel, when the floors need waxing, when the furnace craps out... all of that goes on your tab. And mine. We pay for that house. We decide who gets to live in it. Seems to me, we should have a say in what goes on in the yard as well.

Daniel Bowman Simon and Casey Gustowarow have come up with what I think is a pretty good idea: Rather that pay somebody to spend hours mowing that gigantic lawn, why not pay somebody to grow organic produce on it? They're driving around the country in a biodiesel fueled school bus they've converted into what can best be described as an inverted double decker rolling garden to promote their idea. And it's not as crazy an idea as it might sound. There's already a garden on the White House roof (which, per Laura's mandate, is entirely organic). Why not bring it down to ground level where there's room to expand? The fruits and vegetables grown could be sold at the Adams Morgan Farmers' Market. Or they could end up in local school lunches. Or fuel the people who do the difficult and unenviable work of running our nation's Executive Branch. I don't care. I just want to see an organic garden on the White House lawn, so I've added my name to their petition. Roger Doiron, over at Kitchen Gardeners International, also has a petition on behalf of this idea, which he's calling "Eat the View." If you're like me and want to see less grass and more food surrounding that big white house of ours, I invite you to add your voice to these efforts.

This came to my attention by way of last Wednesday's All Things Considered. A lively debate ensued in the comments section on the article's webpage, by the way, in which supporters of organic agriculture did battle with a shill from the Ag lobby. Check it out, along with the story here. Interesting stuff.


kab said...

Thanks for the post...this is, indeed, a great idea and one that deserves serious consideration. It's symbolic, yes, but so's the White House itself. And even if the produce is just used for the First Family and their guests (rather than being sold at a farmers' market) what a great way to walk or, rather, eat your talk!

- KAB, GoodStuffNW

tommy said...

Indeed, KAB. I don't hold out much hope for it actually happening, but the mere fact that people are rallying around the idea is encouraging.