Last night, my aching arms finally finished leveling off my raised-bed, almost-organic garden. The sweat burning my eyes was blamed on the screaming siren songs of my still-bagged vegetable seeds. “Plant me! Plant me! You’re wasting my season,” they sang.
Trudging back to the house, I, once again, thanked the good Lord for all the much larger farm gardens and market gardens I pay homage to. I remain deeply appreciative of the skill and expertise required to produce fruits and vegetables on a commercial scale – skills and expertise that most people simply take for granted.
First things for first ladies
I couldn’t help but snicker back in March when First Lady Michelle Obama announced that a chunk of the White House’s South Lawn would be spaded up for a veggie garden. Credit for that probably goes to Roger Doiron, an organic gardener and food activist from Scarbourough, Maine.
Last year, Doiron started an “Eat the View” campaign to pressure the new Presidential family into growing veggies. If the first family would lead by example, he says, “we’d see a ripple effect across the country.” And first ladies of states from Maryland to California quickly picked up their garden forks.
While she’s got the right idea, you can tell that First Lady Michelle hasn’t done a lot of spading and weeding. Her aspirations may be far bigger than her garden. But she wouldn’t be the first to fall prey to garden dreams.
The 1,100-square-foot (0.025 acre) plot will yield “a ton of stuff,” she says. “We can produce enough fruits and vegetables to feed us for years and years, for just a couple hundred dollars.” (She must be a whole lot better gardener than I am.)
The word is that the crops will be served to the Obamas, to White House staff and guests. Some will even be donated to a local soup kitchen.
More powerful than Mother Nature?
On April 9, Obama planted the first fruit and vegetable seedlings, expecting to be eating lettuce in about two weeks. She also put in spinach and cucumbers, among other crops. That would be a tad early for frost-vulnerable veggies – anywhere but in Washington, D.C. where hot winds are always blowing.
I’m guessing we won’t see nor hear about the First Lady weeding her garden, let alone picking bugs and worms off. We probably won’t hear about her using environmentally-correct biocides to combat pestilence and famine. Then again, we might. But we certainly won’t hear about her crop failures.
Newly installed bee hives (for honey and pollinating) are out behind the big house. Who knows, maybe a henhouse (eggs) and a goat pen (milk and cheese) are around the figurative corner.
This week, I just might stop by Michelle’s to see how her garden grows. I’m sure she’s already blown her $200 garden budget to smithereens. And, I’m betting she’ll soon have a far greater appreciation for the people who grow food for her fork.
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