Ripping off the White House Garden


MOBWHGARDEN One enterprising Master Gardener (or so he says, though that's all he tells us about himself) is trying to cash in on brand Obama by selling what he claims is a garden just like Michelle Obama's – at his website (yes, no link, on purpose).  But as Obama Foodorama says in her post about it, the best way to copy the garden is to buy seeds from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, which donated seeds for the new White House garden.


  1. Here’s what I gleaned from the website: For $20 you get access to an e-book on how to plant a garden, another e-book called “How to Make Compost — the right way,” and a chart showing growing zones. No seeds, no booklets in the mail, just electronic files. As to who might be behind this, here’s a guess: Jim Stauffer, owner of Stauffers of Kissel Hill, a chain of supermarket and garden centers in PA. I’d love to learn how much he makes over time. I’ll go out on a limb here and say I’m not sure there’s anything ethically wrong with this website with this one big exception: the owner (is that the right noun?) might be hoping some people are careless enough to think they will receive PRINTED books in the mail.

  2. Master Gardeners are not supposed to use their volunteer status as a MG to promote any commercial enterprise. I’ll bet whoever wrote this copy has no clue what a Master Gardener is, or just what those zones mean, since they say you can duplicate the White House’s zone 7 veggie garden anywhere in the US. Someone is trying to turn organic veggie gardening into a Shamwow. Good luck, pal!

  3. It continually amazes how people come up with such ideas.. Yet it amazes me even more the thousands of people that will buy the product or service. Go figure. That is why people like this keep popping up.. there is a market!

  4. I guess you can call yourself a master gardener and not be an actual “Master Gardener”…?
    But seems like he’s trying to cop a benefit.
    I wonder what kind of security the obama garden has? Making their own compost on site might be as much a security choice as an organic choice. But I reckon I couldn’t just send them a tomato plant and expect it to get through.

  5. As an active member of the Master Gardener organization, I am appalled.

    Since Master Gardeners represent state universities, volunteers may not use the Master Gardener title beyond Cooperative Extension sponsored events. For example, volunteers may not put “Master Gardener” on business cards, nor may they promote another business by using the Master Gardener title. Master Gardeners may not use the Master Gardener title to earn money for themselves.

    Anyone who does this is either not a Master Gardener or in direct violation of the bylaws. Stay away from anyone trying to make money for themselves if they abuse this.

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