I hate to be dismal and risk ruining my Pollyanna reputation, but with a record 32.5 million Americans on food stamps, and more American families facing hunger for the first time in their lives, food insecurity is a very real part of the American fabric.
The Victory gardens of the early 1940s, inspired by wartime need and promoted by a Department of Agriculture campaign, proved that many folks are willing to dig in and become a part of the solution through growing their own food.
The government is now at it again, with a Victory garden on the White House lawn and a People’s Garden on USDA soil, soil that was blacktop just a few months ago. Yesterday, in our nation’s capital, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack lent his own green thumb to support our fourth Good Food Garden, at the SEED School, a pioneering charter school in DC. He led the students, our new Good Food Ambassadors, in planting cucumbers, squash, eggplant and artichokes, among dozens of other plants, and joined us in tasting some of the varieties of melons, tomatoes and herbs that the students will grow.
While Good Food Gardens are intended to teach and inspire interest in where food comes from, give students valuable skills and growing methods, and encourage students to eat a larger variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, their larger message is that anyone, anywhere, can grow their own food, becoming part of Secretary Vilsack and President Obama’s goal to end childhood hunger by 2015. The Food Network and Share Our Strength share their mission.
He left us with these words:
“The first directive President Obama gave me when I came into office was this: Feed our children; and feed them well.”
We hear you, Mr. President.
Check out Goodfoodfun.com for more about the Good Food Gardens, and a few ideas how you can feed your children well too.
Sarah Copeland, Recipe Developer and Good Food Gardens Spokesperson