Edible Education Begins At (the First) Home

Thanks to Michelle Obama, there is finally going to be a bona fide – and fairly expansive – organic fruit and vegetable garden at the White House!

Apparently, President Obama doesn’t favor beets, but the first family and their guests will be dining on a reported 55 other varieties of vegetables, plus berries for dessert, throughout the year. The herb patch is going to include anise hyssop (aka licorice mint), which, if you happen to be lucky enough to have any in your garden, you know is a huge favorite of bees – and there will be a couple of First Hives nearby.  The White House also made known that the seeds and equipment to start their Victory Garden cost a total of $200, a sum which pales in comparison to the produce the garden could yield.  White House gardener Dale Haney, along with the team in the kitchen (Sam Kass, Cristeta Comerford and Bill Yosses) will be tending to the garden. Michelle Obama insists that everyone will help pull weeds, “whether they like it or not.”  And the DC fifth-graders, who are helping break ground on this first day of spring and have a garden of their own at their school, will help plant, harvest and cook the cilantro, tomatilloes, hot peppers, red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic lettuces, and the spinach, chard, collards and black kale.

And then the words many people have been hoping for and waiting a long time to hear:

“I wanted to be able to bring what I learned to a broader base of people. And what better way to do it than to plant a vegetable garden in the South Lawn of the White House.”

While the groundbreaking on the South Lawn takes place today, there’ll be a more formal unveiling ceremony for the Obamas’ edible garden in June – just in time for fresh picks.

Here is the garden’s plan, from the New York Times:

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Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama works with kids from Washington’s Bancroft Elementary School to break ground for a White House garden. The White House / Joyce N. Boghosian

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