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A Friendly Permaculture Critique of the Obamas’ Vegetable Garden

Another great blog post from Rob Hopkins at Transition Culture...

A Friendly Permaculture Critique of the Obamas’ Vegetable Garden
by Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
If I had written it as a Transition Tale in the Transition Handbook, it would have ranked as being even more ridiculous than the Beckhams’ cob retirement house. However, here we are, and Michelle Obama has started to dig up part of the White House lawn and turn it into a vegetable garden...

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Comment by David MacLeod on March 26, 2009 at 8:04am
Hopkins isn't calling the garden ridiculous. He's referring to the 'ridiculous' fantasy stories that he (Hopkins) and others writee up as Transition Tales, the example being the fake story about a cob retirement house built by the Beckhams for their retirement. I think he's saying that just the idea of the Obamas digging up the White House lawn for a garden would have been thought to be ridiculous if he had made up the story for Transition Tales. It's his way of showing excitement that the Obamas are actually doing this.

I probably didn't post enough of his blog post to give it context, but I was hoping folks would take the link and read it. He says "It is a fantastic development with enormous and potent symbolism. According to the article, it will be used to grow 55 kinds of vegetable (go on, sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and try and think of 55 kinds of vegetable… I got to 25 and started to struggle…), the first time since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during World War Two. The plot will be 1,100 feet, just slightly larger than the average UK allotment, so while we are not talking a self-sufficient White House here, it is a powerful statement.
...P.S. Congratulations to those who ran the campaign to make this garden happen….. fantastic…."

I take his criticisms as just friendly commentary to give the rest of us ideas about how permaculture principles can be used in the gardens we design.
Comment by Mel Hutto on March 26, 2009 at 2:29am
Yes, it could have been a more intelligent and demonstrative act by Michelle; however, it seems counterproductive to call it 'ridiculous.' It was a step in the right direction, and right now there are probably a lot of kids pressing their parents to plant a garden this spring. There need to be a lot of steps, big ones and small ones. Let's watch out own feet.
Comment by Chris Wolf on March 25, 2009 at 10:59pm
Well, they may not have gotten the Permaculture perfectly right, but I for one applaud the Obamas for planting a vegetable garden at the White House. They are using their leadership and popularity to spread an idea that could empower communities and shrink the ecological footprint of our whole nation. Although, I could lend Michelle a pair of old jeans and a stained sweatshirt that she can actually get dirty in!

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