The White House Garden

Last week I had the privilege of accompanying an American University class on the final White House Garden tour of the year.

My three takeaways from the tour:

Small garden, huge symbol
The space really is quite small, which compared to its impact in the national conversation on food and farming underscores its symbolic nature.

It clearly is a working garden
There was a lot of evidence of the plots and plants being picked and worked repeatedly. While its orderly and clean, its not manicured for show.

Still sensitive about organic
Chalk this up to some of my possible cynicism over the political discourse in food, but our guide – who was excellent – made a point of saying the garden was 100 percent organic but not certified organic. The reason given was it sends the wrong message to home gardeners who would think the USDA certification process too onerous.

I’m pretty sure its still not certified organic because it would piss off the ag lobby. But that’s just me.

Here’s some pictures of the tour taken by Iana Kozelsky:


Beebox WH



About the author

For over fifteen years I’ve investigated and written about America’s worst polluters from the gas fields of North Dakota to the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve been a Senior Advisor for the Environmental Working Group and a Senior Manager at the Environmental Defense Fund. As a freelance journalist, I’ve written for Politico, the Washington DC City Paper, the Huffington Post, Grist, Civil Eats and the Food and Environment Reporting Network.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.