A Victory for a White House Victory Garden*

It seems that the stars have finally aligned and the Obamas will plant a vegetable garden on the White House lawn this spring.

ABC News’ Ann Compton and Sunlen Miller report that the new White House vegetable garden will be dug up and planted on the South grounds of the White House — near the fountain but out of view of the main house.


In the April issue of [O Magazine], Mrs. Obama tells Winfrey, “We want to use it as a point of education, to talk about health and how delicious it is to eat fresh food, and how you can take that food and make it part of a healthy diet.”

Regular readers know this is an idea we have been pushing ever since Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International won the On Day One contest with this very idea, which he calls Eat the View. Here is statement from Roger on today’s news.

Launched in February 2008 under the rallying cry “Eat the View”, the campaign used viral videos and social networking technologies like Facebook to grow a large support base, attract international media attention, and help inspire similar grassroots efforts. The campaign’s proposal that the Obamas replant a White House Victory Garden with part of the produce going to local food pantries won the “On Day One” contest sponsored by the United Nations Foundation in January 2009, beating out 4000 other entries.

While the Obamas’ garden and the online technologies that helped lead to 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.”

I caught up with Doiron a couple of weeks ago and we chatted about this idea…where else, but in front of the White House.

*UPDATE: The planting has begun!