Photo: Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock

Introducing the First (Green) Family

United States News
by Julie Schwietert Mar 19, 2009

Even before the Obama family took up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, foodies were buzzing with ideas about how the First Family could green the White House kitchen.

Blogs sprang up around the topic, with catchy names like “Obama Foodorama.” Food magazine editors made the rounds on American talk radio, offering the President and First Lady chef recommendations or dishing policy advice.

They suggested the President name a food czar. They even nominated their own candidate for the job: author and regular New York Times contributor, Michael Pollan, whose books The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto were bestsellers.

An online petition circulated, gathering almost 9,000 electronic signatures in support of Pollan, who, while flattered, declined being interested in such a position should it even be created–much less offered to him.

For his part, though, Pollan used his media cred to offer advice to Obama informally, including a public letter to Obama, addressed to the “Farmer in Chief.”

Since the Obamas moved in, the advice and rumors have hardly abated, though the Obamas decided to hang onto the chef from the previous administration and, to date, the President has not created a food czar position.

So it was with glee yesterday that one of the most exciting rumors was finally confirmed for foodies who have cultivated an obsessive interest in the Obamas: yesterday, ABC News reported the Obamas will be planting a garden on the White House lawn, producing herbs and vegetables for the residence. And… it will be organic!

The President has his hands full with wars and corporate thuggery, so don’t expect to see him in overalls or a straw hat anytime soon. But the foodies have a solution for that, too: check out White House Farmer to learn more about an interesting project pioneered by a farm couple in Illinois to send the First Family a First Farmer.

Community Connection:

Want to get your hands in the dirt? Learn about WWOOF-ing, or volunteering at home or abroad on organic farms, in this first-timer’s guide. Not sure what “organic” even means? Check out this interview with Derek Wallace of

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