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Can Carrie grow kale for Sasha and Malia?

Post by Kathleen Merryman / The News Tribune on Jan. 21, 2009 at 5:10 pm with No Comments »
January 21, 2009 5:10 pm

Carrie Little, who has spent the last decade growing organic veggies and fruit for food banks supplied by Emergency Food Network, is leading in the race for White House Farmer.

No. There is no White House Farmer at present, though there is quite a lawn maintenance crew.

But Michael Pollan is making the case for one. He started with an Oct. 12 article in The New York Times Magazine. In it he makes the case for growing, and eating locally. It’s healthier for consumers, he writes. It uses less fuel than the current system. It’s better for the environment. It strengthens the nation’s food security.

You can read the full text here.

He tops off the argument by urging the president to set the example for the nation by ripping up the White House’s five-acre South Lawn and replanting it as a kitchen garden. The produce would feed the First Family and wow guests, with plenty left over for Washington D.C.’s food banks.

Eleanor Roosevelt kept a veggie garden, Pollan wrote, and inspired the Victory Gardens that kept Americans healthy during World War II.

With the Obama family in residence, Pollan’s backers are keeping the idea alive with an internet campaign for a White House Farmer to join the White House Chef on the staff. Log on to whitehousefarmer.com for a vision of that.

You look at that bit of digital wizardry, and you can imagine Peter Rabbit crashing the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Here’s the cool local angle: The site invites visitors to nominate that White House Farmer. On Wednesday evening, Little was the front-runner.

Voters can read the nominations for 20 farmers from Maryland, Iowa, Arizona, Indiana, Virginia, Washington and so on. It’s encouraging that so many small farmers remain true to real food.

But former EFN director David Ottey’s nomination of Carrie Little blows the others into the back fields. Read that nomination, and realize that at EFN’s Mother Earth Farm between Sumner and Orting, “organic” does not merely refer to the soil. It describes the farm’s place in the larger community.

So vote for Carrie Little. What she does has the power to inspire gardeners to till more, share more and dare more.

Then be grateful there’s no chance Little will be planting carrots in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s South Lawn any time soon.

We need her here.

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