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.