Today the rational for the White House grounds are far different from what they once were since we are now far more aware of the need for national leadership in a variety of activities that were typically performed just by individual for their own benefit. E.g. a home garden of some sort provided necessary food, the responsibility of the wife, but the landscaped grounds as we know them at the present time were few and far between except for the wealthy who could afford hired help. Women gardening for decorative purposes? That was a man's job although females with determination might provide suggestions.
Now the question of a food supply is becoming center stage because of the population explosion in countries worldwide including ours. To supplement our fruits, vegetables, and grains, we now increasingly use South America, Mexico, South Africa, and Asian sources for then. Yet food banks supplying the needy with nourishments in the US are no longer uncommon in spite of this. Meanwhile exporting countries still have their own hungry people they ignore as we do ours in preference to profit.
Leadership from our new president is vital to solve this mammoth problem and Obama is capable of doing so providing a large scale example of an organic garden in a highly visible area with the produce going to the White House kitchen and local food pantries. A small garden designed and maintained by the Obama children would help greatly to get their parents involved. Washington Gardener magazine subscribers are a logical source of leaders who can serve as teachers. Set up groups in various locations which do not already have them, they can provide instructions concerning how to grow your own food to people who feel the need for guidance or just need a push to put a garden in their own yards that will sow their neighbors and friends what they can do to reduce the size of their grocery bills. This will collectively make an impact. The magazine can print regular reports on the results.
Barbara is the author of White House Landscapes: Horticultural Achievements of American Presidents and Thomas Jefferson: Farmer. She resides in Forest, VA.