Rallying for Sanity, and the National Lawn


Jon-Stewart-Rally-300x500Well, I'm off to show how sane I am by joining Jon Stewart, et al and thousands of other sanity-lovers on the National Mall.  Amy wrote that I simply must go to REPRESENT, so represent I will (I guess), and I hope you appreciate the sacrifice involved:  short subway ride, 62 degrees under sunny skies, hundreds of Port-a-Potties and an assortment of friends to meet up with.  Somebody's got to do it!  So stay tuned for photos and my report and watch the whole thing on Comedy Central – live! 

But for now a note about the charity that's been designated as the beneficiary of all this attention.  It's the Trust for the National Mall,  which is the fund-raising group for one of the most prominent yet under-funded parks in the U.S.  It was slated to get Recovery Act funds but opponents scoffed at money for turfgrass (like covering bare ground is a frill) and the funding got axed.

To read up on the National Lawn and why it needs help, first go to Adrian Higgins' article in the Post. And remember when SafeLawns.org planted an organic lawn demonstration plot and how great it looked – before the Park Service let a rental group kill it?  (And then didn't use the group's deposit money to fund a replacement for the plot.) Mall flickrthesisbossi

Behind the Scenes at the Daily Show
One more thing.  If you're a fan of the Daily Show you'll love this story about what it took to produce the show from D.C. this past week at the Shakespeare Theater.  And no, I wasn't one of the lucky few to snag tickets, though I sure did try.

Photo credit – see how crappy the lawn is! 


  1. Ok…I thought we were supposes to be against huge expanses of water sucking lawns. $200 million for re-sodding that will be trampled to death by 25 million people and put through multiple abuses including trailers and tanks and everything else in between. The article made it sound like this is an on going expensive issue…sounds crazy to keep planting grass to destroy it. If that many people are using it maybe other alternatives should be explored.

  2. This photo (visit my blog http://www.gregsgardens.blogspot.com to see) was taken in my town. It is a very large community garden. Or shall I say was. It is still large but more resembles abandoned streets in Detroit than a garden. Unharvested crops, abandoned benches, shade structure falling apart. It was built in 2009 at the so called height of the rebirth of the Victory Garden now called Community Garden. I saw the unveiling with local politicians proclaiming the benefits that the community would achieve from this garden. Funny thing to have in a community that is still largely rural, agricultural with medium to large back yards. The garden sits in a proposed industrial park well away from the center of town. People gardening here need to drive 3-5 miles round trip since there is no public transportation.

    Interesting how the Victory Garden called upon self reliance with folks growing gardens in their own yards. Community Gardens rely on each other sharing tools, water and space. A useful concept if it were for real, or should I say sustainable. Community gardens began popping up all over America after we sat spell bound watching Mrs. Obama play in the dirt at the White House garden. Pundits in the eco-warrior world proclaimed the First Lady’s attempt at getting her hands dirty a national victory for their cause.

    I know many communities climbed aboard the Veggie Train last year. I can only wonder how many now look like this one does. I ask how could this fail? Is there any correlation between the failure of this community garden and the dwindling support among GEN X, Y and Z for the Obama Presidency? After all it is GEN X, Y and Z who are more socially aware, eco-aware and community aware than those of us from the Baby Boomer generation. But yet at the same time these are the first ones to shop at big mega-corporate retailers they proclaim to hate. Meanwhile the “Greatest Generation” and baby boomers shop loyally at long established family and small businesses.

    Alan Greenspan coined the phrase “irrational exuberance” during the run up of equity markets in the early years of this decade. turns out he was right. I say this irrational exuberance then switched from equity markets to the social consciousness marketing that catapulted Mr. Obama to office in 2008.

    “Yes We Can” has turned into “No We Didn’t”/”Yes We Can’t”. Just look at how many young voters are discouraged, disappointed and let down after only 21 months. Look a the weeds growing in this “COMMUNITY GARDEN.”

    I hate to mix politics with gardening. But the charade of Mrs. Obama “playing” in the dirt pretending to garden hits me in the industry in which I make my livelihood……gardening. My grandfather had a one acre garden to feed his family of 17. They had to. They had no choice. To see how many turned to gardening last year only because Mrs. Obama said we should, and then see them drop out is a kick in the spade to all of who dig, grow and make our living working the dirt not playing in it. Many of you who read this blog are in the honorable industry of gardening. Many for decades like myself , others for a shorter time but all of us for the same reasons; we love it, we love the freedom of growing our own food or helping others do the same. We understand and get a rush knowing the efforts put forth by small farmers and gardeners can make a difference at places like farmers markets, roadside stands, deliveries to local cafes etc.

    This is how you build a community and grow the local food economy: one vegetable garden at a time, one delivery of fresh local herbs to a local restaurant at a time, one quart of canned tomatoes put up for winter, one seed sown in a new garden. Older younger and in between growing, producing food crops for sale or keeps. One garden at a time. One, as one individual who then with other individuals whose sum becomes greater than the whole.

    Localism does not grow by watching Mrs. Obama play in the dirt and then listening to her cheerleaders say what a wonderful thing has just occurred. Empty gardens like this one that tarnish my field are what occur after the irrational exuberance dies then……nothing is left but a garden going to seed. The excitement is gone.
    It is done, over with, kaput.

    It is time for real gardeners to resume what we have been doing for years. Reaping what we sow regardless of who is playing in the dirt.

  3. Lawns are a ridiculous USA infatuation going from the average JOE six pack, up and below.

    Where is the gospel written in stone about LAWNS.

    I do not give a Flying Fart about LAWNS, ORGANIC or not, with fertilizer, pesticides, fungicides,
    herbicides, diesel, gas,oil,
    propane and or course WATER WASTE.

  4. So, I’m not entirely certain what the above rant on Ms. Obama, Gen X/Y/Millenials and your local community garden has to do with the National Mall or the Rally to Restore Sanity (In fact, it sounds like you might have supposed the Rally to Keep Fear Alive), but I’ll bite.

    Sure, perhaps some people jumped aboard Team Growing My Own Food after seeing the White House garden (which was intended to teach kids about nutrition, btw. The Victory Garden craze was well started before her husband was even elected). And you know what? Perhaps those people (young & old…There are plenty of the “The Greatest Generation” to be found at Walmart & plenty youngin’s shopping at the local mom & pop shop) decided gardening wasn’t quite for them. Maybe they didn’t have the patience or time. Maybe they discovered they were creeped out by earthworms or aphids.

    Who cares?

    Despite not being successful or deciding that gardening was not a good hobby for them, undoubtedly they learned:

    -Growing stuff is hard work.
    -Keeping gardens looking nice is hard work.
    -Garden designers/gardeners/farmers/etc. *are* talented and desire their compensation…because it’s hard work.

    Which are lessons would give those young whipper-snappers more respect for your livelihood even if they decide doing it wasn’t for them. (Actually, that’s good job security for you)

    However, along the way Ms. Obama “playing in the dirt” has inspired others to *try* gardening…and many, even those technology-addicted, ADHD, short-attention span Gen X/Y/Millenials are finding that they dig it. Literally. In my area, Community Gardens are thriving. Counties and towns are adding them as demand exceeds supply in areas of high-density living. In my own neighborhood, I see people converting corners of their *front yard* to growing herbs or vegetables or sometimes mixing in Swiss Chard Bright Lights or runner beans into their ornamental beds. Sure, sometimes the beds get a little weedy, they obviously over-/under-watered something and the overall design isn’t perfect. But they’re learning and giving it a try.

    In short, who cares if Ms. Obama, or anyone else for that matter, inspires anyone to get their hands dirty and find out where their food comes from. The end result is the same as if they came up with the idea all by themselves.

  5. So let’s go back to the video tape of Mrs. Obama getting her hands dirty……..she has yet to end obesity in public schools., she has yet to end hunger in America despite the number of community gardens thriving she has yet to solve the health care crisis with all the fresh veggies floating around.

    The publicity stunt miserably
    The TROLL

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