As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The White House Vegetable Garden

I hope this starts a trend. Sustainable lifestyles are healthy lifestyles.

On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern.

In an interview in her office, Mrs. Obama said, “My hope is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”

I love the symbolism. Throughout the Presidential campaign we heard various candidates, including Obama, state that we have a disease care system, not a health care system. That's not just a function of a lack of preventive care, but the way in which Americans live and eat. In low-income communities fresh produce is often not even available. But we can plant community gardens, in a large swath of land offered by municipalities (I'm quite certain that there are a few vacant lots out there) or in individual homes. And we can move our children and ourselves to better food options. And we can, by taking that responsibility, reduce the need for the exorbitant external costs associated with obesity.

This has inspired me. I currently don't have the space for a garden, but I've been meaning to get one of those small planters on rollers to grow a few crops. Thanks, Michelle.

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