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November 20, 2016

A Bit of Good News in Times of Uncertainty.

Public Domain: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

I’ll admit it, I’ve been wondering a lot about what the future of our country is going to look like.

What can I expect? Changes are coming, but what will they be?

I also found myself wondering what might happen to the White House Kitchen Garden.

A lot of people might ask why, when so many larger, more important things are at stake, I would care about a little plot of land on the south lawn of the White House, but I was genuinely concerned about the garden’s future.

I care because I garden. I care because I believe in Food Not Lawns, which is a small but important social movement that promotes not just the growth of tomatoes and beans, but of communities too.

Gardening creates a sense of abundance. It leads to sharing, self-sufficiency, healthier eating, and a connection to the Earth and its well-being. Working the land and learning to provide good food for ourselves and our loved ones is physically, spiritually and mentally nourishing. And it’s a-political. Growing a garden is non-partisan. At least it should be.

First Lady Michelle Obama started the White House Kitchen Garden in 2009 as part of her campaign to promote nutrition and healthier lifestyles for all Americans. It was meant to inspire others to start their own gardens. In her own words, the First Lady explains:

“This garden has taught us that if we have the courage to plant a seed, then take care of it, water it, tend to it, invite friends to help us take care of it, weather the storms that inevitably come, if we have courage to do that, we never know what might grow.”

The garden is a symbol of the values that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, hold dear. One of my dreams is to one day see and tour the garden, but with a new president in office, I worried the garden may come to an end.

But there’s good news: the White House Kitchen Garden is here to stay!

In October, the Burpee Foundation (famous for seeds) dedicated 2.5 million dollars to the National Park Foundation to ensure the maintenance of the garden for at least the next 17 years. According to NPR, “The first lady has also added wood, stone, and steel features designed for durability.”

The White House Kitchen garden isn’t going anywhere, and will continue to provide food for the White House and local charities, hopefully for many years to come. The garden is a valuable educational experience, a strong role model, and a powerful symbol, so I’m thrilled it’s going to continue thriving.

I hope that one day I will get to see it. In the meantime, I’ll settle for following The White House Kitchen Garden on Instagram. I just learned that astronauts living on the International Space Station are growing lettuce in space from White House seeds!

We live in a time of great uncertainty, and many people are understandably afraid, but when things are hard and scary, sometimes it helps to look for little bright spots of positive news just like this.

Even better? Help carry on Michelle Obama’s legacy by starting your own garden! At the least, planting seeds, cultivating plants, being outside and watching them grow is wonderful therapy.

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Author: Victoria Fedden

Image: Public Domain // @whkitchengarden on Instagram

Editor: Toby Israel

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