Alice Waters pestered one president after another to start a veg garden at the White House and, with help from Michael Pollan and the tireless Roger Doiron and his amazing Eat the View campaign, she finally got her wish. So now there's not just a White House veg garden but a billion or two news stories about it (with trillions more coming over the course of the Obama administration), and California's First Lady has already jumped on the veg-growing bandwagon.
And we're all pleased as punch about this but hey, what about the rest of those 18 acres? What about getting that lawn off drugs? Ditto those sickly hybrid tea roses in the famous Rose Garden. How about more wildlife habitat on this precious center-city site? And then there are the unsexiest concerns of all – stormwater run-off, water conservation and recycling of green waste. YOU all know the issues, but who's talking them up with the media? NO ONE. NOT A PEEP.
All that brings us to – ta-da! – a national media campaign called Green the Grounds.org. Mission: To encourage the Obamas and America's governors to green the grounds around their official landscapes. Why? Because just as Michelle's veg garden will teach Americans more about food than any other government or private action possibly could, the same could be accomplished with a White House compost bin, organic lawn, habitat garden and no-spray Rose Garden, with similar improvements to official residences across the U.S. Imagine!!
If we get even HALF the media attention that Waters, Pollan and Doiron
did with their campaign about food, official landscapes will change,
and private backyards will follow.
Calling all Bloggers
Bloggers can help get this movement off the ground by posting about it on Earth Day – Wednesday, April 22. Suggested angles for your posts:
- Changes you'd like to see to the White House grounds.
- Changes you'd like to see to the grounds of your governor or mayor (if there's an official residence in your city).
- Examples of sustainable, eco-friendly landscapes that you know of.
- Your ideas about how to spread the word.
Send me the links to your blog posts and I'll display them on the Green the Grounds website. (Write to email@example.com, or paste the link in a comment to this post.)
One more thing – grab the Green the Grounds badge and pop it into your sidebar.
This all started with a very exciting phone call from Michelle Obama's assistant to yours truly, asking about my ideas for a veg garden and saying they'd be back in touch after the Inauguration. Well, I say, in the meantime I'll pull together some suggestions. I then set to work polling everyone I know in this town and a few others around the country about not just the growing of food but…every other damn thing I'd love to see happen to those 18 acres – lawn care, reduced pesticide use, etc etc. Thirty-four consultations later, I compiled it all in an "informal proposal" with some gorgeous photos and delivered this largely unbidden advice to the White House. Click here for a summary of the proposal and another link to the 19-page proposal itself. The 34 smart people whose brains I picked are listed on the last page. Robin Wedewer's garden adorns the cover.