Monday, November 10, 2008

Mr. & Mrs. Farmer-in-Chief Go To Washington, As Obamas Make First White House Visit

Barack and Michelle Obama made their first visit to The White House today, as part of the rapid-fire transition to the new presidency, which has to be accomplished in just 71 days. Today's meeting with President Bush was part policy meeting, part check-out-the-new-digs meeting. Of raving interest to foodies and food activists:

*Will the Obamas answer the growing call of their food activist constituents and turn the White House lawn into an organic garden? Kitchen Gardeners International is vigorously lobbying for this kind of exemplary change with their Eat The View project, conceived by gardener extraordinaire Roger Doiron (pictured below; founder of KGI, and a Food And Society Policy Fellow). Since February 2008, KGI has been making a very public call to transform the vast, useless, pesticide- and fertilizer-laden White House Lawn into a working symbol of responsible foodie activism by creating a presidential kitchen garden that will provide seasonal food for White House events, as well as crops for local food banks and schools. Since Mr. Doiron launched the Eat The View campaign on the website OnDayOne, it's been in the top spot on the site, which exists so netizens can share their ideas for change with the incoming Administration. As a fundraiser for Eat The View, KGI is now actually selling virtual plots of the White House lawn on eBay. Buy one soon, because they're selling as fast as locally grown heirloom tomatoes during a Salmonella Saint Paul outbreak. The White House Organic Farm Project, another ongoing and mobile campaign to convert the White House lawn into a kitchen garden, was inspired by Eat The View (image at top of post is Eat The View's logo).

*Who will the new White House Executive Chef be? Current executive chef Cristeta Comerford (pictured) is the first woman to ever hold the position, and was appointed by First lady Laura Bush in 2005. Originally from the Phillipines, Chef Comerford is a naturalized American citizen, and holds a bachelor's degree in Food Technology from The University of the Phillipines. She worked internationally before starting as an Assistant Chef in the White House kitchen in 1995. But surely the urbane and soigne Obamas need some kind of change in White House cuisine, that's far different from the Kobe Steak and BBQ the Bush Family has favored. The White House Executive Chef is responsible for designing and executing menus for state dinners, social events, holiday functions, receptions and official luncheons hosted by the President and First Lady. Time to put a forward-thinking activist/locavore/organic Chef into the White House kitchen, especially if that big crazy White House lawn is suddenly sprouting heirloom veggies...Alice Waters? Dan Barber? Grant Achatz? Wiley Dufresne?