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Hestia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:25 AM
Original message
Michelle Obama gives up organic dream

Tuesday, 04 August 2009 09:18 .

Michelle Obama's organic dream is shattered, as high levels of lead have been found in the vegetable garden the U.S. first lady has cultivated for the past two months.

The garden showed 93 parts-per-million (ppm) of lead, far above the safe 10-50 ppm. Even though the Environmental Protection Agency puts lead danger levels at 300-400 ppm, lower levels are considered dangerous to children such as the Obama children, Sasha and Malia, and this is enough to remove the "organic" label from the presidential garden.

A likely cause of the elevated lead levels is from ComPRO, a commercially available compost made from a nearby wastewater plants solid effluent, that was used - paradoxically - during the Clinton administration.

The practice of fertilizing land with waste water is a common practice in America, and is legal under current EPA rules. However, growing food using this kind of fertilizer is prohibited under the federal organic regulations. The Obama garden was created as part of an effort to promote organic farming among American people.

http://en.greenplanet.net/index.php?option=com_content&...
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. Wasn't this debunked already?
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. yes.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
12. More Like, "Debunked"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eddie-gehman-kohan

Eddie GK runs the Obama food blog, the one that claims Michelle Obama is now the defacto leader of the food activism movement. The above link is her "debunking" in HuffPo. Take a very good look at the replies, from some highly informed sources.

Now, if you still don't think she's someone who sold her soul for a super-supercool gig, check out what she was writing before she got the Obama gig:

http://haphazardgourmet.blogspot.com/2008/08/food-for-t...

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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Thank you, and the OP should see this, too.
<snip from your link>>>

"So why is Mr. Kimbrell essentially accusing the President and Mrs. Obama of poisoning their own children and visiting world leaders by feeding them suspect spinach and contaminated collard greens from the White House Kitchen Garden? Mr. Kimbrell is trying to make a point about the horrors of sewage sludge, and he hasn't done his own research. He's parroting a story that appeared on the Mother Jones website, which claims that sewage sludge spread on the White House lawns during the Clinton era has permanently contaminated the entire White House campus. This misinformation campaign has slithered around the blogosphere like a viral worm, but the only bit of truth in any of the stories is that the National Park Service did in fact test the White House Kitchen Garden for lead, and did in fact find that lead level reading of 93 parts per million. And Dr. Filippelli maintains that anyone suggesting the garden is contaminated based on a lead count of 93 ppm simply has no idea what he or she is talking about."

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NYCGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. This story has links to PDFS of the actual reports of the testing by
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:28 AM
Response to Original message
2. She can get around the problem by making a raised garden or growing in ....
... containers with new soil/compost/manure.


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FSogol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. +1 Use Raised bed gardens
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Iris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. yeah - wouldn't this be the answer for anyone who is serious about an organic garden?
I can't imagine soil in any urban area that is not full of lead
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. doesn't have to be organic either
Edited on Tue Aug-04-09 08:42 AM by Botany
I have been growing tomatoes, peppers, basal, and melons in containers sunk into the ground
for awhile now and the results have been outstanding ..... although I try to grow as organic as
possible.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. It depends
I was considering buying a house close to an expressway once so I looked into this. The land close to any heavy use road (if the road was there before 1980) has a lot of lead in it. You should not eat food out of that soil. If you get a few hundred feet away the lead levels fall a lot. Lead precipitates out of air fast. Good thing or else we all would be losing IQ.

I think (and I may be wrong) DC still has many lead water pipes. This would concentrate lead in sludge made out of poo from DC.
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Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
5. 93 ppm lead in the soil is well within the normal range for pristine soils.
I have no idea where the "safe" level of 10-50 ppm comes from, but it's dead wrong. The EPA level of 400 ppm lead in soils is considered safe to eat -- safe to eat the soil itself, not just safe to grow vegetables.

Such craziness.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
8. I'm Sure Michelle Is a Wonderful Person
Edited on Tue Aug-04-09 08:48 AM by NashVegas
But this story illustrates why the Obama Foodorama blog people are off their freaking rockers if they think US food activists, a group comprised of hundreds of thousands of plugged in, educated people who've been networking for 15+ years, will blindly accept their proclamation that Michelle Obama is now the Official Leader of the Movement

http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2009/06/making-ameri...

As for the alleged debunking of this story:

Where we strongly disagree is about the safety of using sewage sludge for growing crops. Let me repeat that the national organic rule for which so many of us fought for so many years specifically lists sewage sludge as a "prohibited method." So it is at least misleading to say as she does that the Obama garden is an inspiration for "organic sourcing" when, however unwittingly, it's plants have been grown in a manner prohibited under national organic standards. I specifically do not blame the Obamas for this; to the contrary, I wrote that they are the "victims" of a public relations stunt by a prior administration.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-kimbrell/use-the-p...
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csziggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 09:01 AM
Response to Original message
9. "The President Has Birthers; The First Lady Has Leadites"
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The Only Thing Toxic About The White House Kitchen Garden Is The Rumors: Scientists Correct The Record On Contamination
Noted Scientists Try Not to Laugh As They Demolish The Latest Ridiculous Rumors...
Mother Jones magazine is the current winner in the bizarre race to see who can most effectively spin the White House Kitchen Garden as a Bad Idea For America. Last week, the magazine declared that the National Park Service disclosed that the garden's soil was contaminated with toxic lead, and tried to make a dubious connection to sewage sludge that had been used in the Clinton era to encourage grass growth on White House lawns. Contaminated is a good bit of overstatement, and evidence that Mother Jones does not have a fact checker on staff, or any regard for its own reputation, but the magazines pronouncements have rapidly led to a game of toxic telephone on the Internets and in the media. The rumor that the White House Kitchen Garden is contaminated is being repeated over and over, and gaining more traction by the day--even in places that should know better, and do their own fact checking. But Mother Jones is just plain wrong about the White House Kitchen Garden, as is everyone whos repeated their nonsense.

93 PPM As A Lead Level Is 'Ridiculously Low'
Its true that the patch of South Lawn where the White House Kitchen Garden is situated was carefully tested by National Park Service officials before the garden groundbreaking in March, and was found to have a lead level of 93 parts per million. But that number is ridiculously low for any urban garden, according to Dr. Gabriel Filippelli, chair of Geology at Indiana University, and associate chair of the Center for Environmental Health. Dr. Filippelli spent a lot of time chuckling during a recent conversation about the White House Kitchen Garden, because trying to make a case for grave contamination based on a test result of 93 ppm is absurd.

Dr. Filippelli also noted that the ppm reading for the White House Kitchen Garden is probably even lower than the actual 93 level the garden has been tagged with, because not all lead thats actually present in the soil is bioavailablecapable of being absorbed by food crops.

More: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2009/06/white-house-...



The President Has Birthers; The First Lady Has Leadites Who Play Toxic Telephone. The White House Responds Again....
In the last two weeks, the lead myth has returned with a vengeance, in stories with inflammatory headlines such as Michelle Obama's Toxic Veggie Nightmare. This, despite the fact that lead as a toxic issue in the garden has been debunked by major soil scientists, in interviews with your intrepid blogger that appeared here and on Huffington Post. We apparently live in a world that's devoid of fact checkers, because everyone who's newly writing about the "lead threat" is referencing the non-fact checked June 17 Mother Jones story about "sewage sludge lacing the White House veggie garden," which started the leadstravaganza (and these stories are appearing internationally, too; for instance in the UK's The Guardian). Mother Jones didn't check their facts about what lead levels actually mean in food gardens, and they didn't check their facts about when sewage sludge--in the form of fertilizer--may have been spread on the White House lawn (their dates are wrong, as is their assertion about the practice). And despite talking to one of the same soil scientists that Ob Fo interviewed to debunk the toxic myth, Mother Jones refused to correct their story. But why bother to correct the record? It's not as if Mother Jones is engaged in a project of journalism, or interested in facts. The new wave of Leadites are also referencing Andrew Kimbrell's Huffington Post nonsense, which also referenced the same Mother Jones piece--after the Mother Jones piece had already been debunked. It's all an extraordinary case of toxic internet telephone.
More: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2009/08/paradigm-shi...
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Nice Little Propagandic Hitpiece, Huh?
Edited on Tue Aug-04-09 09:13 AM by NashVegas
It's been said that in order to control and/or halt a movement, the best thing to do is get out in front and lead it.

It wouldn't have taken much for the Obamas to back-track just enough to say, "oh wow, we weren't aware the White House garden was previously fertilized with waste-water sludge, and now that elements of lead from that sludge are still around, more than 8 years after that sludge was laid, it's apparent the organics food activists who fought to keep waste-treatment sludge out of the Federal organics standards were correct to fight so hard. Still, we planted a great garden and we're going to keep it and harvest this year, we simply will refrain from calling it organic until we can get the soil in the proper guidelines for certified organics."

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asjr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
13. The Bush Regime spoiled everything in DC--
including the land on which the White House sits.
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #13
21. Not sure what this has to do with Bush.
Seems to be about Clinton's use of sludge on the white house lawn, and whether that negates the term "organic" being used for Michelle's garden.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
14. I wish people would STOP posting articles about this DEBUNKED piece of BS.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
16. So First Lady, Michelle, isn't "Giving Up" Anything..thank
you very much.

"So why is Mr. Kimbrell essentially accusing the President and Mrs. Obama of poisoning their own children and visiting world leaders by feeding them suspect spinach and contaminated collard greens from the White House Kitchen Garden? Mr. Kimbrell is trying to make a point about the horrors of sewage sludge, and he hasn't done his own research. He's parroting a story that appeared on the Mother Jones website, which claims that sewage sludge spread on the White House lawns during the Clinton era has permanently contaminated the entire White House campus. This misinformation campaign has slithered around the blogosphere like a viral worm, but the only bit of truth in any of the stories is that the National Park Service did in fact test the White House Kitchen Garden for lead, and did in fact find that lead level reading of 93 parts per million. And Dr. Filippelli maintains that anyone suggesting the garden is contaminated based on a lead count of 93 ppm simply has no idea what he or she is talking about."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eddie-gehman-kohan/the-on...
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. I Believe You're Missing the Greater Point
Edited on Tue Aug-04-09 12:50 PM by NashVegas
1. Obamas' people are engaged in a marketing push to place Michelle at the forefront of the Food Activism movement. Their greatest foray so far is the ORGANIC White House garden.

2. The allegedly organic garden is on land fertilized by waste-sludge, which organic foods activists spent the late 1990s/early 2000s fighting tooth and nail to keep the USDA from allowing to be used on certified organic farms.

3. Rather than admit to a mistake, Michelle's people are digging in their heels and attempting to water down re-define acceptable organics practices.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-kimbrell/use-the-p...

Where we strongly disagree is about the safety of using sewage sludge for growing crops. Let me repeat that the national organic rule for which so many of us fought for so many years specifically lists sewage sludge as a "prohibited method." So it is at least misleading to say as she does that the Obama garden is an inspiration for "organic sourcing" when, however unwittingly, it's plants have been grown in a manner prohibited under national organic standards. I specifically do not blame the Obamas for this; to the contrary, I wrote that they are the "victims" of a public relations stunt by a prior administration.

My colleagues working on sewage sludge impacts include two former government researchers; we have collectively spent decades studying the issue. It is Ms Kohan's, not our, view of sewage sludge that is "shaky." She should acquaint herself with the real facts about the levels of heavy metals, priority pollutants and the myriad other toxins in sludge. There is ample evidence that coming into contact with or unknowingly consuming it can cause severe illness and worse (see www.RILES.org for dozens of relevant studies).
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Other than a veggie garden...
Other than a veggie garden at the White House, what evidence is out there that both specifically and relevantly points towards WH staff pushing the first lady at towards the head of "Food Activism movement"?




Editorials and blogs being what they are (editorials and blogs), would not really be considered valid sources for evidence in this case...
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. The Official Obama Food Issues Blog
Edited on Tue Aug-04-09 03:40 PM by NashVegas
http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2009/06/making-ameri...

The admin hired a foodie blogger to tackle the Obama agenda on food activism. Here it is from the horse's mouth:

The First Lady At The Top of The Food Chain
Americas food movement is filled with thousands of well-intentioned groups that have often been at odds with each others goals. Writer Paula Crossfield highlighted this in a recent Huffington Post piece, Step One: Hone The Ask, in which she pointed out that it's difficult to know what to even request that the Obama administration change in food and Ag policy, because food activists have been so disconnected from each other**, and have lacked definitive leadership. But as of yesterday, the food movement is in swell shape, because First Lady Michelle Obama has just become the official leader, and shes laid out, in capital letters, precisely which food initiatives the White House believes need immediate attention, and where her influence is available to be used. "The Asks" have already been honed into a plan, into what can be regarded as round one of making profound changes in our food culture.
...
So, yep. Michelle Obama, Leader of The Food Movement, has served notice that things must change, and we now know exactly what issues are deemed critically important for round one, what can be successfully asked for, and what the Obama administration is willing to focus on.




** That's more or less an outright lie. The only confused people are the soccer moms and dads who pull their Explavigators into the parking lot of Whole Foods. The leaders and long-term members of the food activism movement all know who's been doing what and for how long. And we all know that Michelle sat on the board of a corporate food distributor (not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that).



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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Well, good.
Well, very good then. It brings an immediately recognizable face to an important cause, and allows it more weight within the D.C. cause-celebre circle.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. No. Not Good. Not Good For Food Activists At All
Edited on Tue Aug-04-09 03:59 PM by NashVegas
The GM/GE loving-bandwaggoneers may think it grand, though, as well as "organic" farms with corporate boards lobbying to loosen the standards.
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-05-09 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. I don't know anyone on the GM/GE bandwagon...
I don't know anyone on the GM/GE bandwagon, so you're preaching your religion to the deaf, pal.

Seems like she'll give the Grow-Your-Own-garden movement validity and weight in the DC circles...
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
18. They should create an Organic Community Garden in DC
in which the White House has a patch like the other families can have a patch. This way, you actually do promote home gardens among American people by giving some of those people a home garden, people who don't have garden patches of their own. I think that is a better solution than giving up. Move to cleaner ground, and expand rather than contract.
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DevonRex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
19. Oh good lord.
:eyes:
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Hestia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
22. I am terribly sorry for the OP! I had no idea that this had been debunked.
I looked around the search area, but most times I get links from 2004, so I thought the story hadn't been posted. I was just terribly sad, as a Master Gardener, that the WH garden wouldn't be viable, and what could we do about it? Wow, MJ bricked on a story like this? I am very surprised they would put a story like this out. I *thought* greenplanet was a good source. I'll triple check the source next time. Mea culpa.
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snooper2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-04-09 01:34 PM
Response to Original message
23. never mind
Edited on Tue Aug-04-09 01:34 PM by snooper2
nt
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