Publicity-seeking, or joining the Food Revolution?

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

California's First Lady breaks ground for vegetable garden

"California's First Lady Maria Shriver broke ground for a vegetable garden at the state capitol, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The groundbreaking took place just days after First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled plans to put a kitchen garden on the White House lawn. Shriver's garden will be planted in May in a flowerbed on the east end of Capitol Park in Sacramento. The vegetables harvested will likely go to a local food bank."

Sorry I don't have a link to the article.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a),0,1718972.story?track=rss

Now let me go read it - thanks for pointing it out, Darius.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Still, seems a little late to the party, since Maria Shriver could have started a month ago, I'd think.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

The Times suggests the food won't be consumed at the Gov. manse, just given to the needy... are they afraid to eat home-grown?

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Maybe ... maybe they like to have their food more predictable? Who knows. I've never gardened in CA, although I'm sure I've eaten a lot of CA iceberg lettuce and such.

Maybe it's a chance to be viewed as do-gooders, and they actually will save the cream of the crop - you know, the teeny little zucchini and so on - for themselves.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

The WHY isn't as important as the symbolic effect which is positive. This is a harmless non-political activity that ALL the first ladies could take on. Maria has never been a wall flower just sitting in the corner so I'm not surprised. Given CA's position in American agriculture and strapped finance, it's a natural. I hope she really plays it with the press. It would be much more effective if we could see the first ladies get a little grubby like a real gardener. Might become a full blown fashion.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

LOL, I doubt any of them will actually get 'grubby' like we do... maybe a little dirt smudge on their faces for effect?

Seriously, I do hope it is not just a copy-cat event. We could use some real momentum generated by the more visible women out there... and the men, too.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Agree with both of you !!!!

Glendale/Parks, AZ

It may indeed be both but the great thing about what she is doing is she is doing it. The more people who plant gardens the more clout we will develop. And when congress trys to pass bills to stop or limit home gardening, community gardens, and or farmers markets we will have advocates. It is all good in my mind. Yeah Maria.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

If they really wanted to promote gardening, they could learn about it and show what it really entails, not go out with some kids with shovels and rakes and start digging up a lawn in front of TV cameras.

With these photo-ops and the pitchmen on TV selling tomato trees and upside down tomato planters there will, if people believe what they see, be a lot of disappointed people come fall.

This message was edited Apr 5, 2009 4:30 AM

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I personally think all of them in the public eye are "publicity seeking"! On the other hand if only one person will open their eyes and gain from it, it will be worth it. Some admire specific public figures so if their hero/heroine says it is a good thing... so be it.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

I hear you David Paul. I've never read that book titled "The Sixty Four Dollar Tomato", but every time I see all the outrageously expensive toys for seed starting and ridiculously hyped growing supplies I think of it. Education, patience and perseverance are the big requirements we don't hear much about because they're free.

Clarkson, KY

To me the most important thing is that they think this will generate good publicity. Even if it starts a wave of 'Victory Gardens' that people use to fill food pantries with. Sooner or later someone will figure out that a tomato grown in the eco-grunge of L.A. still tastes better than one from a shi-shi organic store that still takes more time to get them to market. Nothing against the people trying to make good food accessible, but the 10 or so feet of transport of local produce is hard to improve on.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

twiggybuds....Exactly! It takes work and learning a little about what you intend to do. I don't believe people are lazy or want to be uninformed. I believe people are eager to be more accomplished . But they are pitched an easy solution and, heck, you're sitting there watching TV and they make it seem so easy to grow these huge tomatoes so why not spend the twenty or twenty five bucks.

Because of the economy, advertising rates have dropped a lot. That's why we see the ShamWow guy on all the time. They are making a lot of money pitching low end items.

Never know what is in someones mind. But the public figures I've seen give a misleading impression of what it takes to garden. That makes me believe two things: They have a low opinion of the public and they are out to enhance their own imagine. Reminds me of a tour I got a few ago of a "green" mansion in Florida.The place costs $18 million bucks. Owner pointed out all the solar this and energy conserving that. The "energy effecient" pool costs more than my house. Some savings.

A more positive action than staging PR stunts would be to promote small growers. Do the photo-op at a farmers market. Hold meetings of small growers and invite the press. We all know those in high positions don't have the time to do what it takes. But they can help those who do by encouraging the public to look at local growers.

Promoting the idea that going out with a shovel and poking around the lawn will make a dent in feeding anyone is insulting. I suspect in three or four months I'm really going to be annoyed when I see these lush gardens and the impression given will be that a crew of professionals wasn't called in, at great expense, to do the work but it was done in the spare time of someone who doesn't have any spare time.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

I have a copy of The $64 Tomato. It's an interesting read and DH tease me that we grew $100 tomatoes the first year of the garden. We had to spend some money on the trellis and soil for the plot, but it's been producing well and making up for it. In the case of the $64 tomato author, much of his additional expense is due to his lack of gardening experience and lack of understanding nature. The author feels that mulch is unnatural. He prefers to see bare soil under his plants (and then complains about weeds).

It would be nice if these government garden projects would include a little write up in the local paper describing the garden tasks performed eat week, even if the task is to admire the garden. I think that would get more folks engaged in their gardens. It would also give first time gardeners some ideas of what they might need to be doing with their own garden.

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Wellllll, this just showed up in the Organic Gardening forum and I went and signed the petition -- says the manufacturers of agri-chemicals have pressured Michelle Obama to use chemicals in her garden, so this is a petition supporting her organic practices:

more info at link......

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Thanks. I signed the petition, with a personal note as well.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

me too, no note!

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

I read the letter Credo says Mid America CropLife Association wrote.

I did not get the impression, as Credo apparently does, that MACA is "angry", has " a bone to pick" or are pressuring Michelle Obama to use pesticides. All MACA asks is (we) "respectfully encourage you to recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the U.S."

The only mention of pesticides in the letter is about using Global Positioning satellites, infrared light detectors and pumps to minimize the use of pesticides and herbicides. Not exactly technology anyone who doesn't have hundreds or thousands of acres under cultivation would even consider.

Call me cynical but my hunch is Credo's "petition" is more about getting names and addresses on a mailing and call list than anything else.

Note the last two items to check on the petition form.

Credo wants cell phone numbers and carrier names to send text message alerts about "urgent issues" and "election information".

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

DP, how did you find MACA's letter? I looked for it but couldn't find it.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

carrielmont....scroll down a little here:

Jill Richardson claims "After sending the letter, MACA forwarded it around to others, with the following message"

Maybe one person at MACA did add that "following message" to the copy of the letter sent to the White House. Maybe not.

Bottom line is the official letter and how it is being twisted for political purposes.

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

I first saw it on this thread. It was very thought provoking for me.

The small vegetable gardener and even smaller farmers compared to big ag are as apples and oranges. This letter draws those lines clearly for me and I think they're trying to muscle in where they don't belong. The White House veggie garden has nothing to do with all the glorious accomplishments listed toward the end of that letter.

They would defeat the purpose by having us believe we need an arsenal of chemicals to grow a radish. Just imagine how intimidating it must be for a newbie to encounter those vast offerings of "crop protection products" at the store. I'd give up before I started if I thought all that would be necessary. They evidently think we're too stupid to realize the human race has been growing crops through the ages and surviving without them.

David_Paul my thoughts were the same as yours but doesn't everything boil down to politics now days? I signed the petition but I'll be sending some more thoughts separately.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

Twiggybuds...the politics of this doesn't bother me. These issues are political and should be debated (not here but somewhere). I would just prefer the issues be presented in a more above board manner---with less incendiary rhetoric, without mischaracterizing the opposition's views and without intentionally polarizing people. There is a lot of stuff to sort out. How to feed the world in the most responsible manner. How to determine if rent seeking and not public health is the real motive behind a proposal. How to make sure the small responsible farmer isn't crushed by rules aimed at large corporations which have the money and legal and accounting staffs to handle all the paperwork and added expense.

San Francisco Bay Ar, CA(Zone 9b)

D_P, I would add "how to feed the world nutritious food rather than empty calories" to your list of stuff to sort out.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

Of course. Strive for the best.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks, D_P, I see now. i agree about divisive rhetoric obscuring the real issues. Now I'm going to 'unwatch' because these DEEP THOUGHTS hurt my brain. Good luck, folks, these issues DO need to be discussed, just not by me!

Greensboro, AL

Sorry for your headache Carrielamont.

I have gardened in California and if you had the opportunity at all - acess to any land - or even a pot of dirt, it would be a hard thing to escape. Sailing if you live on the ocean, and gardening if you have a back yard. Its 70 degrees year round - perfect weather - rarely any rain. You can garden year-round in most of the State.

I was in Santa Barbara - as close to paradise as you can get for a gardener. I don't think Ronald Reagan had a garden when he was governor there, but I wouldn't be surprised if it just wasn't publicized then.

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