In a world where havoc is being wreaked at every turn, I find great comfort knowing that the local and sustainable food movement is moving into the mainstream.
But don’t believe everything you hear or read. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack inaugurated the USDA’s “people’s garden” on the Lincoln Bicentennial (Feb. 12), apparently in a publicity stunt that he thought up himself, including the jackhammer he took to the pavement. I got this scoop from Obama Foodorama and it’s credible because they interviewed USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service Public Affairs Team Leader Terry Bish to get to the bottom of it! Too bad there were no original garden plans (the ones in the photo were old) and no plans to grow food. But new media went wild with this story and before you knew it people just assumed food would be grown. Now, low and behold, thanks to popular demand, food will be grown and it will be organic. But who will do the planting and tending and harvesting is a complete unknown. I wonder what state that jackhammered pavement is in now?
On a happier and more real note, The White House’s organic food garden made headline news with our nation’s First Gardener Michelle Obama breaking ground while extolling the virtues of eating locally and sustainably to school children. Go Michelle! You’ve got to love this woman. She’s got my vote for the Friend of Sustainability award.
And lastly, but very importantly, President Obama nominated former head of the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service, Kathleen Merrigan, as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Kathleen is an Assistant Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and was on the “the sustainable dozen” list of recommended candidates for high level USDA positions the Food Democracy Now campaign sent to the White House. Three cheers for Obama and Merrigan and chalk one up for sustainability.
Things are moving in the right direction. Just expect some hiccups along the way. Or maybe jackhammers?