Obama’s Victory Garden: Watermelons and Clotheslines at the Whitehouse

When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade and if the Mayor of Los Alamitos sends out an email entitled ‘No Easter Egg Hunt At The White House This Year’ with a pictures of a watermelon patch in front of the Whitehouse, maybe the best thing to do is to plant a garden. After all, Candide decided that the best thing to do despite Pangloss’ insistence that all turns out for the best, was to tend his own garden.

So, it was great news to hear that The First Family would be growing a garden at the Whitehouse. Yes, I hope they have watermelons. The report says they will have peppers, spinach and arugula. They will even have two beehives. Here, my mind wanders to W. B. Yeat’s poem, ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’

Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow

I doubt there will be much for solitude in the Whitehouse Victory Garden, but I do hope that it will be another place where peace finds a foothold.

A person that Kim went to college with shared the link to the Washington Post story via Facebook. Kim shared the link and I shared the link. A long discussion ensued on my page about it. Alexander Lee, Executive Director of Project Laundry List suggested maybe they will erect a clothesline as well. It is something those of us in the ‘Right to Dry’ community have long been advocating for.

Two other friends, not acquainted with Project Laundry list discussed whether Mr. Lee’s comments were snarky, eco-sensitive or borderline racist. Mr. Lee stepped in and explained his role with Project Laundry List and hopefully got a few more people to think about other simple things we can do in our life to make our world better, like using a clothesline.

Another friend mentioned Crockett’s Victory Garden. This was a gardening show on PBS back in the 70s that started in response to a tough economy and concerns about foreign oil back then. She mentioned that there is a person trying to bring back Crockett’s Victory Garden.

It was all like a discussion over the back fence. Word spread from one person to another as new ideas were shared. We need more of that back fence sense of community, even for those times that we can only get it via Facebook.

Yes, maybe I’ll sound a bit like the pundits interpreting Chauncey Gardiner in ‘Being There’, but all of this, I believe, illustrates why Obama’s Victory Garden is so important. It is a profound signal about what the President values, what he believes we as a nation should value, and what can help our country address the problems we face.

Instead of going shopping as a means of trying to deal with our problems, we need to role up our shirtsleeves and work together. We need to champion sustainable local agriculture, good food, and the simple things of life. We need to tackle our problems inch by inch and row by row.

With that, perhaps the best way to end this blog post is with the lyrics from a favorite song of mine,

Inch by inch, row by row
Gonna make this garden grow
All it takes is a rake and a hoe
And a piece of fertile ground

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