Eighteen months after Michelle Obama's shovel first broke ground on the White House lawn on Earth Day of last year, her vegetable garden continues to grow and incite envy and awe among the most avid of gardeners.
In a recent article posted on the The Week, exactly just how successful her garden has been this past year is summed up by the (impressive!) numbers.
Weight, in pounds, of the food the garden has produced this year
Weight, in pounds, of the food the garden produced last year
Number of different kinds of foods — mostly vegetables — grown in the first year
Her garden has proven to be inspiration to new gardeners and school children across America. Leave It Better.com is just one such project taking a page from Mrs. Obama and facilitating garden projects in New York City school systems, headed up by filmmaker, Graham Meriweather, by teaching children the ins and outs of gardening sustainably and then putting a FlipCam in their hands to interview each and record their journey to then have it posted on the group's website.
Just as Mrs. Obama has hoped for with her garden, children experiencing the Leave It Better's Regeneration project have learned how easy it is to grow lettuce and make compost - and then have a salad party to celebrate.
Depsite the controversy incited by this number,
Synthetic fertilizers or pesticides used
Michelle's garden has not only survived the vocal disapproval of agribusiness and pesticide lobbyists, it has thrived.
When Food Democracy Now! visited the White House garden last year accompanying Wes Jackson, Wendell Berry and Fred Kirschenmann, we were impressed and delighted to not only see a fully operating composter, but also bee hives, making the garden a part of a biodiverse and sustainable system - right there on the White House lawn - with President Obama's table scraps becoming a nourishing part of the soil in which the vegetables grew.
From the bee hives in came:
Amount of honey, in pounds, as of April
While most of us are not ambitious or fortunate to have this level of success in our garden - or have our own chef and staff to weed, harvest, cook and prepare - we applaud Michelle Obama's effort and are inspired by her commitment to being a shining example of health and sustainability for the entire nation.