Friday, August 01, 2008

Paint the White House Green

Now here is something ALL Washingtonians, no matter their party affiliation, can get behind. Check out Eat the View 's campaign to turn part of the White House lawn back into a productive landscape. They have a new Youtube video which can be viewed here. In addition to being entertaining and educational, the video is a call to action to encourage people to sign their online petition.

The video shows Roger of Kitchen Gardeners International up in Maine doing some strenuous sod-busting to create a nice clean veggie patch in the middle of his front lawn. It is a dramatic effect. However, I'd recommend lasagna (aka layer) gardening instead for those who want to get rid of a significant chunk of lawn and start new planting beds. It'll save your back and be much quicker. We described exactly how to do that in our November/December 2006 issue of Washington Gardener Magazine, but you can Google it and find instructions easily on the web too.

Back to the topic at hand, let's cast our vote for a "green" White House by demanding whoever our new president may be (*cough* OBAMA *cough* :-) use some of those 18 acres to feed their household and the hungry of this city.


  1. WOOHOO!! We are huge proponents of this movement and are making strides locally to ensure our neighborhood lawns are as edible as possible or at least contain some element of edible. Can you imagine is we had a president in office who fed their family from the White House lawn?? How incredible would that be?!?! What a message to send!


  2. While a beautiful and productive edible garden should be encouraged as the ideal, I don't believe in demanding a White House "farmette." Will there be chickens grazing the lawn as well??

    If the future president is into gardening and wants to create a plot that flows with delectable vegetables and fruit, what a great way to inspire others to do the same! I don't believe the White House has to become a "Eco-Political-Design House." There are plenty of home and garden design houses all over the country already.

    Would the proposed garden be used as a message to the American people that, "this is what you should do with your yard?" If so, I don't want to preached to about gardening from the White House lawn and I make a living teaching people about gardening!

    My point is, I don't like gardening as a political practice. Yes, growing your own vegetables is amazing- I do it and also design vegetable gardens for my clients. It's the way to go if you want delicious, fresh food for your family. You save money too. All good benefits but not THE reason to garden.

  3. I'd think one big proponent of the idea would be the White House chef. He's responsible for such important banquets for State occasions, and the White House chef's always try to highlight the best in American food. I'd think it would be an enormous asset to have truly local produce to select from. It's a resource many chef's would envy.


  4. Firephrase that is a great idea! I would encourage the chef to have his or her own gourmet garden to offer the very best food to their dinner guests. Now, that's an idea I can rally behind!

  5. Shirley E - I don't see this as political per se - more akin to the Presidents Physical Fitness Program and the Space Program - something we can all aspire to and by inspired by. And hey, they have the acreage - why not a few chickens to supply a few for that famous Easyer Egg Roll? Can you imagine the cachet of finding one of the white-house-bred eggs? Historically DC was full of backyard chicken coops and that tom turkey that gets pardoned every year by the Prez could stick around too,if he likes.

  6. Anonymous1:32 PM

    Good Job!: )

  7. Are the President Elects intentions to Paint the outside of the White House "Green"? If it is, he is just trying to use the garden thing to simply divert us from knowing his true thoughts.
    He and his wife are evidently very Uncomfortable with living in a White House! They probably think it has been White long enough. Come on, if this is what he really thinks then, why not come out and just say it instead of trying to divert with the garden. The White House has nothing to do with Black and White. It is simply a house painted white! Truly childish in my opinion. The White House needs to stay white. It is part of our history and should not be changed because of someone maybe feeling inferior or threatened.

  8. TJ - No, the Prez-elect has no plans, wishes, or intentions to actually piant the White House any color.
    My headline was just a play on the George Clinton anthem "Paint the White House Black." This blog entry was meant to draw attention to the movement by gardeners and others to make the White House and its surrounding property more "green" i.e. organic -- which started long before the recent election cycle.


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