Sunday, March 22, 2009

White House + Gardening

Wondered at all recently if the Obamas were the first WH occupants to have a garden? Well, not surprisingly Eleanor Roosevelt had a Victory Garden there during the war. But the story goes back much further. And ofcourse, the web being the web, someone has made a short animated history of WH gardens. In this case it's Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International, leader of the "Eat The View" campaign. Roger's piece, on Vimeo, says that at the peak of the Victory Gardens movement Americans grew 40% of their own fruit and vegetables. See several animated pieces at:

Incidentally, the video says that the average distance that food travels to U.S. plates is 1,500 miles. Is that possible? It's 1,190 miles Chicago to Miami... A little snooping around the web led to a study (Tim Lang, Thames Valley University) that says:

"An increasing proportion of what Americans eat is produced in other countries, including an estimated 39 percent of fruits, 12 percent of vegetables, 40 percent of lamb, and 78 percent of fish and shellfish in 2001.4 The typical American prepared meal contains, on average, ingredients from at least five countries outside the United States."

The link (posted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Iowa) that cites Lang's study also shows a color graphic illustrating the rise in the percentage of grapes, pineapples, artichokes and asparagus that are imported to the U.S. It's at

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