The Obamas' new garden
The Obamas' new garden
Remember this video from the Climate Matters contest we launched with Brighter Planet last year? It was submitted by Roger Dorion in support of the Eat the View campaign, a citizen-powered effort to petition the President to show leadership on climate and food security by planting a "victory garden" on the White House lawn.
Today we hear that Roger's vision is about to come true:
On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.
While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern.
. . .Whether there would be a White House garden has been more than a matter of landscaping. It’s taken on political and environmental symbolism as the Obamas have been lobbied for months by advocates who believe that growing more food locally could lead to healthier eating and lessen reliance on huge industrial farms that use more oil for transportation and chemicals for fertilizer.
Planting a garden may seem like a small matter, but were it to become a widespread practice it could have a significant impact on climate. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land use and agriculture are two of the three main causes of the increase in greenhouse gases observed over the past 250 years. This is partly due to the surprisingly long distances our food travels today, which means more emissions:
Take grapes, for example. Every year, nearly 270 million pounds of grapes arrive in California, most of them shipped from Chile to the Port of Los Angeles. Their 5,900 mile journey in cargo ships and trucks releases 7,000 tons of global warming pollution each year, and enough air pollution to cause dozens of asthma attacks and hundreds of missed school days in California.
There are many good reasons to grow food locally, and reducing greenhouse gases is one of the most important. Congratulations to Roger and all those involved in the local food movement. They're a great example of what a committed and innovative movement can accomplish. Here's an encore of Roger's video: