Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

As I said in my last entry, it's time for me to get to work! I was notified through a community I belong to over at LiveJournal that Obama's new http://www.change.gov website is now live and has a form for submitting your ideas to his office. Of course, my first contact was advocating for national urban/suburban sustainable gardening/farming programs! Below is the text of the letter I sent. I thought I'd post it as encouragement for others to do likewise :) My next correspondence will be concerning GM foods and incentives for organic ingredients. (I still have some more info to research before I send it off!)

Dear President-Elect Obama,

I'd like to propose implementing Presidentially endorsed programs encouraging Americans to grow their own produce where possible, and encouraging creating community gardens to be grown in vacant lots in urban areas.

During the WWII era, the United States implemented the "Victory Garden" program, an excellent early model of what is possible. Comprehensive guides were offered free of charge to Americans who were interested in the program, and all Americans were encouraged to participate. In todays America, programs like these could offer volunteer opportunities for young people as laborers, and seasoned farmers/gardeners as mentors.

Saving money on produce each week would be of great help to those struggling with the economic climate, and rising food costs, in our country. I've personally noted a 20% rise in the cost of lettuce, cucumbers, and green onions in my local store in the last 6 months alone. Although we are just hobby gardeners, we grew roughly $200 worth of vegetables and herbs (when compaired to current prices at the local supermarket) in a small 8x16' raised bed plot in our suburban-sized yard last season and intend on expanding this coming year.

Besides saving money at the grocery store, gardening has MANY added benefits-
*Having fresh produce on hand promotes healthier eating habits.
*Gardening is a great low impact method of exercise which will aid in the battle against obesity problems plaguing our country.
*Eating locally reduces emissions created during shipment of produce.
*Fruit trees and garden plants naturally filter our air.
*Gardening provides quality time for families, and is an effective teaching tool for children.
*Community gardens promote closer connections and cooperation, and a sense of pride in neighborhoods that may not otherwise come together.

I also encourage you as our "Eater In Chief" to get yourself and your family in on the action as an example to the people of America by planting a kitchen garden at the White House this spring. My 10 year old daughter loves to help in the garden, I am quite sure your girls would enjoy it as well!

I'm not a politician, nor am I an expert in commercial agriculture, but I believe this small idea can improve the quality of life of everyday Americans throughout the country in so many ways. Thank you for your time, I appreciate your consideration. Thank you for giving everyday Americans the opportunity to offer their "two cents". God bless you and yours.

Views: 34

Comment by Miguel Marcos on November 7, 2008 at 10:00am
Great letter, Carrie. I think the idea of a kitchen garden in the White House is excellent.

BTW, and this goes for everyone obviously, the web site change.gov is set up to provide information about the transition and members of the new administration as they are named, and also allows you to give feedback on your vision of America. Carrie, maybe double posting the letter over there might be a good idea.
Comment by Carrie Seal-Stahl on November 7, 2008 at 10:05am
I actually got the garden at the White House idea from http://www.eattheview.org. They have a petition circulating asking Obama to do it, too!
Comment by Cornelia on November 10, 2008 at 4:03pm
Great letter, Carrie! Willie Nelson did the same thing yesterday:

An Open Letter To President-elect Obama
Dear President-elect Barack Obama,

As President of Farm Aid, I'd like to take this opportunity to whole-heartedly congratulate you on your historic victory. I'd also like to offer you every resource that Farm Aid has available to assist you in creating a new farm and food policy that supports a sustainable family farm system of agriculture.

I started Farm Aid in 1985 when family farmers were being forced off their land as a result of federal policy that paved the way for industrial agriculture. This shift replaced independent family farmers with factory farms that have wreaked havoc on our communities, our environment and our public health.

There is broad agreement that our farm and food system needs to be drastically reworked. The good news is that the work of building an alternative to the industrial food system is well underway and Farm Aid is proud to have been a leader in this work, something we call the Good Food Movement. The Good Food Movement has grown and thrived almost entirely without the support of the federal government. However, now is the right moment for the leadership of our country to take a role in this important movement. In fact the future of our economy, our environment and our health demand it.

Our family farmers are a national resource with incredible potential to be the protagonists in solving the challenges we currently face. Family farmers are on the cutting edge of thriving local food systems and economies, alternative energy production and environmental stewardship. Family farmers are marketing the fruits of their labor close-to-home at farm stands, farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs), helping local money to circulate in local communities where it can do the most good. Family farmers are growing green energy and harnessing the power of the sun and wind. They are transitioning to sustainable production methods to grow food that is good for our health and our planet. These steps are strengthening our local economies, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, protecting our natural resources and increasing our national security.

As the national organization working on behalf of family farmers for the last 23 years, Farm Aid has helped family farmers stay on the land, organized communities to fight factory farms in their own backyards, and educated eaters about the choices they can make to guarantee healthy, fresh food from family farms. Over our history, we have grown, partnered with, and sustained a network of more than four hundred grassroots farm and food organizations across the nation. As you begin to implement programs to support a family farm system of agriculture, Farm Aid and our vast resource network is here to work with you.

Now is the time for our country to recognize and call on family farmers' ingenuity, strength and value to our past and our future. We can have strong local economies, green energy, a clean environment, healthy citizens and good food—all of these start with family farmers. I look forward to working with you to make this vision of a family farm system of agriculture a reality.

Stay Strong and Positive,

Willie Nelson


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