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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:18 AM
Original message
*PLEASE* sign the petition for a White House farmer and on-site organic farm
http://www.thewhofarm.org /

To President and Mrs. Obama:

We, the people, respectfully request that an organic farm be planted on the grounds of The White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC.

The White House Organic Farm (aka TheWhoFarm) will be a model for healthy, economical and sustainable living everywhere. It will serve as an educational tool and economic aid, and as a means to provide food security in the Nations Capitol. It will reconnect the Office of the Presidency to the self-sufficient agricultural roots of America's Founding Fathers.

The White House Organic Farm Recipe

Article I: The Farmers
Public school children and Americans with disabilities will work The White House Organic Farm, to set an example for the world of hands-on learning and will foster an independent, do-it-yourself work ethic.

Article II: The Eaters
The White House Organic Farm's harvest will provide fresh food for the President, the President's family, and the President's distinguished guests. Just as importantly, it will also supply healthy food to public school lunch programs and food pantries in Washington, DC.

Article III: The Delivery
Food from The White House Organic Farm will be delivered to local public schools and food pantries by volunteers on foot and by bicycle, at a net-zero cost to U.S. taxpayers.

Article IV: The Seeds
The White House organic farmers will plant a diverse mix of heirloom seeds passed down from Thomas Jefferson's farm at Monticello and seeds donated by American farmers and gardeners, to celebrate both the rich agricultural traditions of the Office of the President and the passions of everyday Americans for working her fertile and bountiful land.

Article V: The Soil
The White House Organic Farm will use healthy topsoil, nourished by compost supplements from yard and food waste from all three branches of the federal government; from The White House, from The United States Capitol, and from The United States Supreme Court.



...
Who Will Be the First White House Farmer?
The United States has a White House chef . . . and now is the time for a White House Farmer.
http://www.whitehousefarmer.com /
....


Farmer in Chief
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magazine/12policy-t.h...

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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. This is a great idea, I hope it happens!
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Thanks for the heads up
:hi:
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Pryderi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
2. Shouldn't they buy from local organic farmers and help the economy instead?
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 11:25 AM by Pryderi
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/growing-food-o... /

President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels and tended to an herb garden. As my colleague Marian Burros recently reported, during the Clinton administration, a small garden was planted on the roof that provided enough tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and herbs for the first family, but not their guests. The White House also now buys food from local farmers and co-ops, and Laura Bush was reportedly adamant about organic foods.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/dining/21scheib.html?...
At about the same time, Mr. Scheib said, the White House began buying from about 40 different local farmers and co-ops, although for security reasons this was not widely discussed. If word leaked out that a purveyor was supplying food to the president, it was immediately dropped from the list, a Secret Service requirement.

Laura Bush took things a step further. To her credit, Mrs. Bush was adamant about organic foods, he said. It goes counter to her perceived personality, but it was never important to her that the information be released.

Ms. Waters then explained herself, saying, I never criticized Cris for what she does when I offered to help evaluate the cooking. She added that she was relieved to learn that the Obamas were not hiring a celebrity chef, as some had suggested.

It became clear that the frost was melting when Ms. Waters suggested they form an advisory group to work on planting gardens, and not just at the White House. Why couldnt we do this at Monticello and Mount Vernon? she said. We have to work closely together to convince Mrs. Obama.

Mr. Scheib, who is working with the Hershey Company to serve local food at its resort in Pennsylvania, liked the idea. If there is a chance to do it, this is the moment, he said.


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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. That is a good point
but I think this is as much an awareness thing as it is anything else

:shrug:

Wow Laura, way to go
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Pryderi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Obama can make people aware of how every meal served in the WH will be organic.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #4
17. To her credit,
Laura was the one who pushed for the three new Marine Sanctuaries
that were designated earlier this month.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28506975 /

Reports state that Cheney fought this, but she convinced GW that
the sanctuaries were necessary.

The more I hear about Laura, the more confused I become.

It sounds like she was damn close to being an environmentalist!

How could that be with her eco-unfriendly husband?

Cheney is no surprise.
He and Palin have yet to meet an animal they didn't want to shoot or harpoon.
As for the wilderness areas- Bah, if you've seen one tree, you've seen them
all!

:sarcasm:
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terisan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. I admire a woman who eats what she personally kills instead of factory workers doing the killing
If you are a total vegetarian I admire you but if you are not please stop eating meat or fish you have had others kill for you.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #19
29. Somehow, this got turned around

to a discussion on eating meat.

WTH?

Where did I make an reference to THAT in my post?
I didn't- I was discussing the "sport" killing done
by both Cheney and Palin.

i.e,the animals they don't eat, but kill just for the hell of it.

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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
13. Well, they probably won't be able to grow EVERYTHING they need
on the grounds, but if they need to make purchases, yes they shuld do so from local organic sources to the greatest extent possible. And they would do well to support local grassfed meat producers. Joel Salatin comes to mind.
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. yeah, Salatin isn't that far away. Have you ever heard him speak?
Really neat character.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #14
23. Nope, but I have one of his books on my TBR pile. Holy Cows and Hog Heaven.
Only problem is, I hear he is an uber-RWer, if you can imagine that. So he could be a jerk and not cooperate with Obama, but he sounds like he's a businessman FIRST.
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. he has a Libertarian streak, and has a strong Christian belief BUT
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 02:35 PM by Muttocracy
he seems to be one of the ones who say it's our duty to protect God's creation. So if he ends up in the same place as this atheist environmentalist...

I heard him speak at Cornell and he did a great slide show. Afterward I asked him some questions about changing policies at USDA (e.g., supporting organics and small farms) and he pretty much thinks USDA is so in the pocket of big agribusiness that it's a lost cause. So he has a mistrust of government, but that's true of MANY small and organic farmers.

Did you read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma? Big section on Salatin. I'll go look for Salatin's website too...


http://www.polyfacefarms.com / - and his speaking tour: http://www.polyfacefarms.com/schedule.aspx
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #26
28. Yep, he covers Salatin well. And yeah, he is a good environmentalist.
I'm not gonna disagree with ANYBODY who thinks the USDA is currently in the pocket of Big Ag. I really want to see that change, and I am hopeful in spite of Vilsack.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
5. Nice, but impractical idea
Given all the herbicide, pesticide and fertilizer that has gone onto that particular patch of earth, it would take at least five years of completely doing away with the chemicals before the soil could be considered suitable for organic growing.

Then take into consideration the number of vehicles, both air and ground, the number of visitors, security, etc. etc., would make growing any decent size garden tough.

I would much rather see Obama make a substantive rather than a symbolic move to help organic and small farmers, like tightening the restrictions on factory farms, continue to allow organic farmers to put the word organic on their products, rework the USDA's organic certification process, slap restrictions on GM crops, and start assisting small and organic farmers over giant factory farms. These moves would do so much more to help small and organic farmers, but sadly, given the indications we've seen so far, namely appointing Tom "I Heart Monsanto" Villsak, I doubt that this will happen. We'll see.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. There are some security concerns too
too many people on and around the White House grounds

still it is a nice idea
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IDemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. Agreed. I'd much rather they promoted the CSA / community garden concepts
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and community gardens are ideas whose time has come.
I think they will provide the model for much of our food production in the near future.




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Libertyfirst Donating Member (583 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
6. Blather.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. What about it is "blather?"
And please be specific.
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smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
10. Oh, for Christ's sake.
Like the guy doesn't have enough to deal with. Why not ask him to bring you an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas?
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. uh, he'd hardly be doing the gardening.
It's a neat idea, and didn't Eleanor have a victory garden on the White House grounds?
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #10
18. Whoosh!

That's the sound of the point flying right
over your head.

Pres. Obama would not be doing the gardening
unless he chose to do so.

Melia and Sasha might get involved.
Gardening can be fun for kids
and it is very educational.
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smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #18
24. I never said, nor did I suppose, Obama would be doing any gardening
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 02:22 PM by smoogatz
if this goofy idea actually came to pass. And no, I haven't missed the point: I get it, and it's ridiculous. How about this one: polar bears are going extinct, so let's create a polar bear habitat in the White House basement! Sasha and Malia can take them for walks!
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #24
33. Let's see here,
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 08:12 PM by Kajsa
proposing to have an indoor, basement polar bear habitat is the same
as proposing to have an organic garden.

No, I don't think so.
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smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. The proposal is for a farm, not a garden.
A garden is small. A farm is not. And if you get to ask Obama Claus for a farm, I get to ask him for a polar bear habitat. Mine's as likely to happen as yours.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #36
37. Obama Claus?
Edited on Sun Jan-25-09 11:44 AM by Kajsa
I see the maturity level of this discussion.

I'm done here.

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smoogatz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. Because if anything MUST be taken seriously
it's you. And organic farming on the White House lawn. Or whatever.

Oy.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-26-09 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #38
39. Naw, just discussed,

sans all the snark.
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wartrace Donating Member (920 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
15. It is only 18 acres of land.
Probably less than ten acres of it is usable for gardening. It would take some time to get the soil ready/free of pesticides. There would be a distinct lack of variety in the food. No fruit trees would produce for at least seven years. What would the "White house farmer" be paid? Wouldn't it be more practical to BUY organic foods from existing farmers to support them rather than have a government employee compete with those farmers?

Sorry, I can not sign your petition. I will sign one suggesting that they support local farmers in Maryland or Virginia by purchasing their organic produce.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. .
Since someone responded to this (so as not for me to kick it)

I didn't read this out very well. 5 acres is too much and they can't have people milling about on the WH grounds (security)

No really practical at least on this scale.

Yes buying locally would be more prudent. Apparently Laura Bush was a big proponent of this (see other posts on thread)
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
16. Kick!
:kick:
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Tashca Donating Member (935 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:02 PM
Response to Original message
20. I like the idea or something like it.
I could see a weekly PBS garden show featuring this particular garden. Use a top name head gardener and maybe have a weekly special guest make an appearance....someone from Congress...maybe a particular Secretary.....or even someone from the first family. I bet people would tune in at least to see who the guest was if nothing else....and maybe learn something while watching.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. They could do it out at Mt. Vernon and PBS could feature it.
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 02:08 PM by KoKo01
Monticello (Jeffersons's spread) already has a garden when they grow plants from his heirloom seeds, but last I was at Mt. Vernon (many years ago) they weren't into gardening. Maybe that's changed.

It's a wonderful idea. Maybe there's even some land on an empty lot in DC for a large Community Garden that the White House could sponsor. Signing the petition at least will get some attention and then the Obamas can come up with the other ideas.
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canetoad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
25. In principle, a great idea
In practice, probably very difficult for security reasons.

I'd prefer to see a small, symbolic, permaculture garden established, one that contributed to the White House kitchens. As for past chemical and pesticide use - stop using them. The land will eventually repair. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step etc etc.

This may open the door to more of these gardens being set up in communities throughout the country, which in turn would raise awareness of sustainability, which would in turn lead more people to demand that their food supply is produced by sustainable means.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #25
31. You're right, I think awareness would be the point. n/t
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all.of.me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
27. I almost applied to be the WH gardener!
That would have been a very cool job to have, but I didn't want to move back east.

If food was grown at the WH, I think it should be distributed or sold for non-profits, not kept at the WH. And you would need a greenhouse to start your seedlings. That would be a great idea, because then you could sell bedding plants for fundraising.

Gardening is a wonderful way to educate people about the cycle of life from seed to compost. It would emphasize sustainability, frugality and giving, which our country is in serious need of seeing.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. Jimmy Carter grew "cukes, beans, tomato plants on WH Roof!
There was much likeable about him..but he was ahead of his time in predictions and too late after the Revolution...so he kind of got caught in a "vice."
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
30. Excellent idea! Thank you for posting! n/t
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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
34. this would be the greatest example to set!
Right on, thank you!
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 08:22 PM
Response to Original message
35. Eleanor Roosevelt did it and inspired millions to plant their own "victory
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 08:24 PM by Lorien
gardens". Years ago most people I knew had a garden in their backyard. Our family did, as did my grandparents, and we all lived in the suburbs. It seems like mot people these days are too busy, lazy, or attached to their chemlawns to garden these days. With global warming speeding up and mass poisonings in various food supplies, it seems to me that "victory gardens" may be a national security issue.
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