In honor of new beginnings as well as the first day of spring, the White House is digging up an 1,100 square-foot vegetable garden. There has been much speculation about this latest addition to the Obama family’s well-trimmed grounds, but as of March 20, conjecture will finally lead to fact as plowing begins on the South Lawn. The garden will be visible from E Street, where passers-by will hopefully derive inspiration from a family that based their entire campaign on change.
Michelle Obama developed an idea for a garden that would provide food for the first family when she became aware of the concerns of maintaining a healthy diet for her two daughters, Malia and Sasha. She and the President believe that growing locally and organically will also set an example for others to eat more nutritiously and in the process hopefully reduce obesity and disease. This decision has been lauded as a significant political and environmental symbol by activist groups who have been campaigning for such a garden for months. Their goals in regards to the public are similar, and ultimately both the presidential family and the activists that support them hope this symbolic gesture will motivate steps towards a reduction in America’s reliance on major industrial farms that use oil for transportation and chemicals for fertilizer.
While this veggie garden will boast fifty-five varieties of vegetables, fruits, two beehives for honey, and a medley of herbs ranging from Thai basil to anise thyssop, they will not be growing beets due to President Obama’s aversion to them. Perhaps in time he will overcome his dislike, but even if he never does, he and his family’s message is clear: any step away from processed foods, whether it be by incorporating a few fresh ingredients into your evening meal, planting some herbs and vegetables into potted planters, or digging a complete garden (if you have the space) is the right step towards a healthier you.