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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:04 pm 
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I agree with the President on almost nothing.

Advocating the planting of an organic garden is a laudable activity whether it is done by Bush, Obama, Chavez, Castro or that furry little JRR Tolkien character in Tehran.

I applaud the message here, everyone should have an organic home garden - it might put the pshrinks and a few pharmaceutical firms in trouble but I could live with that!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:52 pm 
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This thread isn't about politics, it's about gardening and setting a good example. Since the days when Eleanor Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden on the White House grounds, a presidental garden hasn't gotten this much attention, but both were established for the same reasons: to set a good example.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:41 pm 
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northwesterner wrote:
This thread isn't about politics, it's about gardening and setting a good example. Since the days when Eleanor Roosevelt planted a Victory Garden on the White House grounds, a presidental garden hasn't gotten this much attention, but both were established for the same reasons: to set a good example.


Respectfully, I think it got a little political when you said:

Quote:
Trop John, I think you're the victim of partisan politics. Someone opposed to the current administration might see this garden as a subversive effort to poison the nation. Too bad they need to spread misinformation and target the garden in such a way.


Not everyone opposed to the current administration is a conspiracy theorist and there are those whose opposition to the administration is exceeded by their enthusiastic support of safe, rational, organic gardening practices. No need to cast pre-emptive aspersions on the intellectual honesty of the other side is there? As I pointed out, planting an organic garden and teaching kids about it is a noble endeavor, whether it is done by a Democrat, Republican, Maoist or Anarchist... although the anarchists probably wouldn't plan it out too well and wouldn't follow up to keep it weeded regularly in all probability but hey, that's kinda their shtick.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:09 pm 
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Perhaps you didn't read much of the material (and notice the sources) that went into the aspersions about toxic material in the White House soil? It was clearly partisan in origin, unfounded, and unless the original poster dug further than the headlines, he might not be aware of it. Regardless of this, attributing the context is not the same as talking politics.

I was not incorrect when I suggested misinformation was being spread for a partisan reason, but this thread is about the garden in which Washington, D.C. school children, the First Lady, and an organic gardener chef participated all growing season. It is semantically incorrect to characterise a response, debunking a remark, as "preemptive."

The White House is the Nation's house, it is a museum, it is a place where all residents are temporary. I enjoy watching programs about the site itself, the activities within it, and the traditions surrounding it, regardless of the residents. The garden enriches that history. The National Park Service, my former employer, has a lot of visibility there, and the park service doesn't vet rangers for the job based upon their political preferences. I'll leave it at that--I could work there, regardless of the inhabitants.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:46 am 
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Bottom line: we agree to applaud when anyone takes the initiative to plant an organic garden and use it to teach kids about why they should as well.

...and if that buys the person some good publicity then that's fine too, they deserve it.

I'd really like to see politicians and pundits take a step back on environmental issues: we all drink the same water and breathe the same air and environmental issues have been overly clouded by political overtones on too many occasions. There are areas where reasonable people can disagree, but the first lady planting a garden and trying to do something that is objectively good ain't one of them.

Fair enough?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:09 am 
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Great timing on the part of the New York Times: an article about the National Park Service employees who are groundskeepers (and dog keepers) at the White House. No images, but these links are usually durable.

CAPITAL CULTURE: Close Eye on Presidential Pooches

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/11/03/us/politics/AP-US-The-Bo-Walker.html?_r=1

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dale Haney is the keeper of the White House grounds. In nearly 40 years of keeping the grass green and the flowers blooming, he's also managed to cultivate something just as important: relationships with the presidents' pooches.

Haney is often spotted walking Bo, the Obama family's Portuguese water dog. In fact, he's tended to every White House pup since King Timahoe, Richard Nixon's Irish setter.

Haney, 57, has been a White House fixture since 1972. After getting a degree in horticulture from Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst, N.C., he continued his training in Washington and basically was discovered for his green thumb, as he tells the story.

''They heard about me and they called me to come over here for an interview and I came and here I still am,'' he said during a tour of the gardens one recent rainy morning when first lady Michelle Obama -- Bo's primary walker -- was out of town.

That meant Haney would be Bo's handler until she returned from a day trip to Florida.

''I have him a little bit more'' when she's traveling, said Haney, who said he's amazed by the public's fascination with White House pets.

''Sometimes I think they're more interested in the pets than the president,'' he said. ''It's real amazing.''

Take Bo.

Malia and Sasha Obama, now 11 and 8, long had wanted a dog, but were told they'd have to wait until after the presidential election last year. After Obama told the girls on election night that a puppy was coming with them to the White House, it seemed everyone, everywhere wanted details -- and had an opinion -- on what kind of dog the president-to-be should get and where he should get it from.

Before Bo came along to romp on the South Lawn and roam the White House hallways, Haney spent a lot of time walking and playing with President George W. Bush's Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley. Haney was most fond of Spot, an English springer spaniel whose mother, Millie, belonged to Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush.

Haney said several years ago during an online White House chat that Barney and Spot kept the groundskeepers company all the time.

''They hang out with us during the day while the president and first lady are busy,'' he said. ''Barney plays with the volleyball and Spot plays with a tennis ball. ... They are very helpful in the gardening.''

Haney also confessed to having, well, a soft spot for Spot.

''I love them both,'' he said of the dogs during the online chat in 2003, ''but I do have a soft spot for Spot. I was there when she was born and now she's back.'' Millie gave birth to Spot at the White House in 1989; the younger Bush and his wife, Laura, put Spot to sleep in 2004 after she'd had several strokes.

Barney had endearing qualities, too.

''He has his own mind and does his own thing,'' Haney said back then. ''You've got to love him.''

Besides taking care of the now year-old Bo, Haney has 18 1/2 acres of lawns, trees and gardens to care for, including the Rose Garden, the slightly smaller Jacqueline Kennedy Garden (also known as the first lady's garden) and Michelle Obama's bountiful South Lawn produce garden.

It's a 365-day job. Just mowing the North and South lawns alone takes eight hours. Trimming happens twice a week.

Haney typically gets to his office in the lower level of the White House residence at about 6 a.m, and calls it a day around 4 p.m. He has a staff of about 20, including electricians, gardeners and repairmen -- all National Park Service employees.

The agency is responsible for maintaining the White House grounds and gardens.

Haney works for the National Park Service, too. A career employee, he began at the White House as a gardener, then was supervisor of grounds maintenance and lead horticulturist before becoming superintendent of all the grounds last fall.

Many presidents plant commemorative trees -- Obama planted a Littleleaf Linden last week -- to mark their time in office, but the Obamas took the concept a step further with the vegetable garden. It's a big change, and one that's proved to be more popular than the White House ever anticipated. The crops are served at the White House and some are donated to a neighborhood soup kitchen.

The Obamas are ''very into the grounds,'' said Haney, who is now serving his eighth president.

''They know what's going on because they're always out here walking the dog,'' he said.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:16 pm 
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The White House vegetable garden has one section that has been covered for the winter with a hoop house, where they are growing a number of winter veggies.

Image

You'll find a discussion of the move to winter gardening from White House chef Sam Kass at http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2009 ... helle.html

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:19 pm 
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Jamie Oliver's TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food
http://www.ted.com/talks/jamie_oliver.html

This is so important. It is another voice echoing what Howard and others in this forum have been talking about for years. And it is what Michelle Obama is fighting for - to teach school children about healthy foods. I'm looking forward to this year's White House garden.

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This is a screen capture of him showing the amount of sugar American children get in one year in their flavored, sweetened milk if they drink two cartons every day at school.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:04 am 
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Northwestener:
Thank you for the great info and follow-up and the research and fact checking. Way too much noise passes for "information" these days, and hardly anyone checks on it to see if it is indeed true.
Thanks again,
IslandBoy


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:30 am 
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Anything they do gets TOO MUCH attention. Im already tired and worn out of seeing, hearing, and working for the Obamas. It's every day, all day, every minute of the day for almost 2 years now... :(


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 7:51 am 
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A report published in The Las Vegas Sun(3rd May) said that they faced few problems regarding squirrel, The chef also said how they saved their garden during the snow fall.

how to live green


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 9:27 pm 
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sez Northwestner:
Quote:
Trop John, I think you're the victim of partisan politics. Someone opposed to the current administration might see this garden as a subversive effort to poison the nation. Too bad they need to spread misinformation and target the garden in such a way.


http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2009 ... arden-lead

if you'll accept that Mother Jones has never been a "right wing" organization by anyone's fevered imagination, perhaps you will acknowledge that the misunderstanding is more a matter of what level of lead and heavy metals is considered safe the foods grown in that soil? that they are there in some quantity is a fact, whether that is absorbed, and at what levels into the foods grown there is yet another level of discussion and learning....

even if no carrot or leaf of lettuce could have been harvested, the garden is a wonderful teaching tool, as is the new garden movement in detroit on vacant lands
http://www.lavidalocavore.org/showDiary.do?diaryId=3024
http://detnews.com/article/20090723/OPI ... rking-farm

so, perhaps we can credit the idea without discrediting each other?

signed (a non-violent, non race-baiting, Tea Party patriot, who also likes gardening and small children....my neck is only red when i've been out in the garden too long, and my knuckles do not drag the floor, thank you very much-though i will continue to oppose much of Obama's policies)


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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 9:12 am 
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It was announced today on the radio program that the full Dirt Doctor radio program is aired live on a Washington, D.C. station. And Trop John noted that we've been talking about the White House garden here in the threads:

Yes, indeed! The White House Garden is entering its second year. They've added an additional 400 square feet (two rows) this year.

Image

Here is an article about some planting Michelle and some students did last year (and added some physical activity to the mix). This is from Lynn Sweet (http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/04/01/michelle-obama-launches-white-house-gardens-second-year/) at Politics Daily:

Quote:
After planting some rhubarb with students Wednesday at the spring launch of the White House garden, first lady Michelle Obama, hands dirty, gathered the children and commanded the seedlings, "Grow."

"Grow" she said again, throwing her hands at the plants with the flourish of a magician.

With the kids, she danced around the new plants when Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef and food initiative coordinator (one of the overseers of the garden), walked by.

"Did a little growing dance here," Mrs. Obama told Kass.

Kass, in a white chef's coat and jeans, joined the six kids and Mrs. Obama as they marched around the box chanting "rhubarb."

Yes, it was a little goofy. Mrs. Obama, presiding over her "Let's Move" anti-obesity campaign, wanted to add a physical activity to an afternoon where the main message was healthy eating.

Under a spectacular sunny sky, the first lady marked the second year of her celebrated garden on the South Lawn, a venture that proved more successful than anyone in the East Wing originally imagined, as the project gained global notice.

"There's nothing like watching tiny seeds grow into something amazing," Mrs. Obama said. The garden "began a conversation about getting kids and parents and teachers all across the country thinking about living healthy," which helped start "a national and international conversation."

"You guys did it," she said to the kids, sitting at picnic tables with baskets of apples.

"Everybody is talking about that garden, not just here in Washington, not just here in the United States, but all over the world. And we've been able to start thinking about things like getting kids to try new foods that they've never tried, vegetables that they've never had."

The garden this year is expanded by two rows -- an additional 400 square feet, bringing the total to 1,500 square feet. Ground for the original 1,100 square-foot garden on the west side of the South Lawn was cleared on March 20, 2009, and first planted the following month.

Bok choi, mustard greens and artichokes are among the 2010 additions to the crop lineup. Earning a second year in the nation's highest-profile garden are, among other vegetables, peas, spinach, carrots, sorrel, radishes, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage and leeks.

Later on, other new foods -- figs, corn, melons and pumpkins -- will be planted in the fertile soil. Also around for the second year is the White House beehive -- kept nearby to make it an easy commute for the bees.

Last year the garden (a four-season affair, with the winter planting surviving under plastic "hoop houses") yielded about 1,000 pounds of produce, used by the White House chefs or sent to local food pantries or homeless shelters. While mainly vegetables, the crops also included blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. In all, Mrs. Obama said some 55 kinds of food were grown in the first year.

The garden is not, contrary to what many stories have said, organic. It was never intended to be an organic garden, as defined under federal guidelines.

The students were fifth-graders from Bancroft Elementary in Washington and kindergartners through sixth-graders from Hollin Meadows Elementary in nearby Alexandria, Va. Bancroft students helped tend the garden last year and Mrs. Obama visited Hollin Meadows last November.

Besides Mrs. Obama, Kass and the students, other planters included Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; White House pastry chef Bill Yosses; executive White House chef Cristeta Comerford; the first lady's chief of staff, Susan Sher; some folks from the National Park Service, plus others.

Sebelius, in a denim shirt and pants, called Mrs. Obama "the most famous vegetable gardener in the world." She told the kids that school lunches need to be made healthier. She was pretty hard on ketchup -- knocking it because it contains a lot of salt and sugar. "You think ketchup grows as a seed?" she rhetorically asked.

Vilsack, in a sport shirt, seemed happy not to have to be inside on a glorious day. "Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to get outside of the office," he said.

Mrs. Obama, who now has added "gardener" to her resume, said, "It's good digging in the dirt, getting a little dirty, getting dirt under your nails."


And despite some of the partisan politics masquerading as rational mediation, this garden is in good soil, is organic (I think this columnist is quibbling about federal definitions, not the actual practice of the kitchen staff in how they garden), and the crops are being harvested and eaten, both in the White House and by area food banks. Those readers who are truly interested in the White House garden, skip past the political sniping. It's an annoyance, but I can't edit the thread to snip it out.

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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 1:59 am 
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I heard they like thier vegetables dipped in oil...


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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 2:00 am 
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Oh wait, I meant vegetable oil...
Dirt Face wrote:
I heard they like thier vegetables dipped in oil...


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