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Wicked Cool White House Organic Garden - 4 June 2009

Did you hear? There's a new garden at the White House, the first working variety in over six decades. And it's organic.

First lady Michelle Obama helped break ground on a new White House organic "kitchen garden" Friday. It will be the first working garden at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. since Eleanor Roosevelt planted a so-called "victory garden" at the height of World War II.

This time, however, the enemy is obesity. The first family is hoping to send a clear message to a fast food-driven nation that often seems to be losing the battle of the bulge.

"We're just hoping that a lot of families look at us and say this is something that they can do and talk to their own kids about and think a little bit critically about the food choices that they make," said Marian Robinson, the president's mother-in-law.

And what are they growing?

Perennial Herbs:
Mint, Garlic Chives, Chives, Thyme, Oregano, Anise hyssop, Sage, Rosemary, Marjoram, Chamomile

Annual Herbs:
Parsley, Basil, Thai basil, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel

Lettuces (Green Oak Leaf, Red Romaine, Butterhead, Speckled), Spinach, Onions, Shallots, Chard, Snap Peas, Shell Peas, Carrots, Black Kale, Rhubarb, Arugula, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Peppers (sweet and hot), Beans, Cucumbers, Okra, Sweet Potatoes

Blueberries, Raspberries

The garden is a cheap date, the methods are good for the body and the environment... funny how that body/environment tag-team are usually inextricable.

The total cost of seeds, mulch and so forth is $200, said Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef, who prepared healthful meals for the Obama family in Chicago and is an advocate of local food. Mr. Kass will oversee the garden.

The plots will be in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.

The concept and execution all sound blatantly reasonable and beneficial, but when profit margins are involved, reason and benefit frequently become inconvenient and irrelevant. The Mid America CropLife Association is less than pleased, and Jill Richardson intercepted and published a letter which Mid America CropLife were encouraging people to mass-mail.

The Daily Show produced a devastatingly on-the-mark piece in which Samantha Bee interviewed a spokesperson from the American Council on Science and Health , whose concern-trolling over the organic garden actually included the logic that organic practices can cause both starvation and obesity. In addition to that curious contradiction, the ACSH spokesperson morphs into the role of spooksperson by throwing the ultimate fear word out there. Cancer. Yup, in a bit of knuckle-dragging logic, avoiding toxic chemicals will put you at risk for cancer.

Take a moment to watch the following clip, it's well worth your time.

[ By Doug Snodgrass - Celsius ]

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