Last week, Beth Ann Earl from West Virginia Veterans to Agriculture posted a blog about “Victory Gardens”. Victory Gardens were a phenomenon that popped up around the United States in the early 20th century during World Wars I and II. They were home gardens, encouraged by the government to boost morale and ensure food security whilst so much food and labor was being sent overseas. I was inspired to do my own research about Victory Gardens. Turns out, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt even kept a garden at the White House during World War II. It wasn’t very large—only about one garden bed of crops.
After Roosevelt’s presidency ended, there wasn’t another official White House Garden on its grounds—until 2009! That’s right—current First Lady Michelle Obama started a White House Kitchen Garden in the first year of Barack Obama’s Presidency. It is much larger than Mrs. Roosevelt’s garden and is run by First Lady Obama, the Senior Director of Nutrition Policy Sam Kass, and young students from the D.C. area. It is an organic garden and its food goes directly to the White House kitchens and local food banks. It is part of what encouraged First Lady Obama to start her Let’s Move! campaign—an initiative aimed at ending childhood obesity.
This is the White House Kitchen Garden’s sixth year in production, and First Lady Obama has recently added a Pollinator Garden! The Pollinator Garden serves to attract bees and butterflies for pollination and provides education on the importance of these sadly disappearing creatures.
I wanted to write about the White House Kitchen Garden to show the Grow Appalachia family that the homegrown food movement that has recently started to reach Appalachia is present all over the county and world. You are part of an initiative of sustainability, healthy food, and self-reliance that is encouraged by the White House! So if gardening for yourself is tough sometimes, and you feel alone in it, just remember that you are now part of a great and historic national trend.