The Garden of Eatin’

1792: Construction on the White House – known first as the ‘President’s House” – begins on what had been a tobacco plantation.
1800: Construction is completed. President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams move into the White House as its first residents. Adams plants the first “First Vegetables” but is soon after voted out of office.
1801: Thomas Jefferson takes office, reaps where Adams sowed, and redesigns the garden plan adding a number of ornamental and fruit trees. It is worth noting that some of the first White House gardens, including Jefferson’s, were dug and tended by slaves.
1814: British troops set fire to the house, destroying its interior. Three years of reconstruction and renovations take place which include building the portico and painting the President’s House white.
1825: President John Quincy Adams plants fruit trees, herbs and vegetables to help support his own household.
1835: President Andrew Jackson builds an “orangery” for growing tropical fruit.
1857: Orangery is demolished and a full-scale greenhouse is built.
1902: Greenhouse is demolished and replaced by West Wing.
1918: President Wilson and First Lady Edith Wilson recruit a flock of sheep to mow and fertilize the First Lawn at a time when the country was trying to conserve resources – human, financial and fuel – for the war effort.
1943: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt plants a large Victory Garden on White House lawn over the objections of the US Department of Agriculture inspiring millions of Americans by her example.

1954: President Dwight Eisenhower installs a putting green on White House lawn.
1979: President Jimmy Carter installs solar panels on the White House roof and tends an herb garden.

1981: President Ronald Reagan removes the solar panels and proposes that ketchup be considered a vegetable for public school lunches, a proposal that is lambasted by health officials and the media and quickly withdrawn.

1990: President George H. W. Bush declares the White House kitchen a “no broccoli zone.
1995: Chef Alice Waters writes to President Bill Clinton calling for organic gardens on the grounds of the White House and the Vice Presidential mansion. Clinton at one point responds “send me the seeds,” but soon after gets caught sowing his own wild oats in a scandal that becomes the dominant flavor of his second term of office.

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Edible landscapes for all: can you dig it? Yes, you can!

My hubby has planted an organic vegetable garden at our home since 1987, as well as several fruit trees. Our Golden Retrievers have loved it, of course, and often have taken to feeding themselves . . . or trying to dig up the spoils (such as sweet potatoes). The organic yield is unbelievable, but sadly, we are virtually the only home in the neighborhood that utilizes much of our small piece of land (1/3 acre) this way.

The future is going to be more fresh, juicy and delicious than a lot of us realize. That’s because edible landscapes are going to be more integrated into our yards, neighborhoods, towns, and cities in the future than they have in the recent past. To make this happen, though, more people need to be asking for and digging these landscapes. Here are a few things you can do to help:

1) Sign the “White House Food Garden Petitionwhich Eat The View will deliver to the Obamas along with a diverse collection of heirloom seed packets. Eat the View is the citizen-led campaign to plant a large Victory Garden on the White House lawn. (I signed already and it took virtually no time at all.)

2) Identify a landscape near you that you think should be “edible-ized”. Start with your own yard, neighborhood, or child’s schoolyard. You can also ask your elected officials at the state and local level to lead by example. The Governors of Maine, North Carolina & New York are already eating from gardens planted at their official residences.

3) Become a supporter (check out my forum profile page here). Also, grab some great photos or widgets to place on your own webpages and blogs. You can grab photos here and you can get some really cool widgets here. This is our favorite photo.

Learn more about gardening at Kitchen Gardeners International, a 501c3 nonprofit founded in Maine, USA with friends from around the world. Their mission is to empower individuals, families, and communities to achieve greater levels of food self-reliance through the promotion of kitchen gardening, home-cooking, and sustainable local food systems.

Cat Adopts Baby Red Panda

A zookeeper’s house cat has adopted a baby red panda abandoned by its mother and is nursing the cub along with her own kittens. The panda and its sibling were abandoned by its mother and a zoo keeper initially kept them in an incubator. However the keeper’s cat, which had just given birth, took the two and let them feed off of her alongside its kittens. While one of the baby red panda’s didn’t make it, this one has been thriving. The little fella even plays with its adoptive brothers and sisters. Officials at the Amsterdam zoo say they plan on letting the cat continue nursing it for three months before switching the panda over to bamboo and fruit. Red pandas are distant relatives to the more famous giant pandas and officials say they expect this guy to eventually become just a little larger than its adoptive mother. Officials say they have no idea what kind of relationship the two may have then. — The Associated Press.


Obama loves Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” too

When I saw this on Saturday Night Live last year, I just could not believe it. It was just incredibly funny. Then, when I tried to show it here, via Youtube, it was taken down due to music copyright issues. Well, I found another one and also found out that our president loved it as well.

It’s clear that our President is the new cool, but nothing shows this more than his recent meet-and-greet with various celebs at the Lincoln Memorial following the star-studded “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration” concert.

Captured on video by singer John Legend, the Obamas walked up to greet Beyoncé. Michelle Obama says, “Mr. President, you didn’t tell Beyonce about ‘Single Ladies’? Your rendition?”

“I’m not like Justin [Timberlake]” Obama says laughing, referring to Timberlake’s spoof of the video on Saturday Night Live. “I didn’t put on the outfit. …[But] I didn’t want my girls thinking that I couldn’t, you know…I got a lil something.”

He then does the infamous hand flip.

Check out the original SNL broadcast of “Single Ladies” with Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Now, check out this Obama impersonator’s Beyoncé “Single Ladies” SPOOF.