Inside The White House Garden: A Video

When Michelle Obama decided to plant an organic garden on the White House lawn back in March, Big Ag shot her a quick letter saying they were disappointed she didn’t “recognize the role conventional agriculture plays in the US.” Despite industry opposition, Mrs. Obama plowed ahead.

Now there’s a new 7 minute video telling the story of the White House garden. Of course, the word “organic” is mysteriously missing from the video, despite the garden being 100% organic. But, who cares? The video tells a noble tale: that of children being empowered to grow and eat their food, families choosing to eliminate processed foods and refined sugars from their diets in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables, and people choosing to sit down around their kitchen table at night rather than eating out.

The video features footage of the garden plans, bed preparation, soil amendments, planting, and harvesting. While watching it I thought, “Well of course they can add all those soil amendments, it’s The White House. That’d be too expensive for me.” So, I looked up the cost of the garden. According to the Yale Sustainable Food Project, the garden cost a mere $200 to install. That is fairly attainable.

Honestly, I think that was Michelle Obama’s goal. She wanted to inspire families to make small changes to their diets — little changes that can have a HUGE impact on health (such as passing up sugary sodas in favor of water). She wanted to make the changes seem easy, the modest goals attainable.

I often meet people who are overwhelmed when introduced to the concept of traditional, Real Food. Really, we Real Foodies are pushing something quite daunting to someone stuck on the convenience and cost of the Standard American Diet (SAD).

What? You want me to find and drink raw milk? You want me to shop for vegetables at a local farmer’s market? You want me to source and eat only pastured/grass-fed/wild meats? Organ meats? Give up yellow cooking oils? Properly prepare my grains or not eat them at all? GIVE UP SUGAR? (And we all know the list doesn’t just stop there.)

Sometimes inspiring people to make little changes is all we can do. Cook more meals from scratch. Dine in at home rather than out. Give up your daily soda in favor of something healthier. Inspire people to start thinking more conscientiously about their food choices.

That’s what Michelle Obama’s garden has started to do. As she says in the video, “if the President of the United States can make the time to sit down to a family meal with his kids every day, so can you.”

The idea is to enable people to make small, yet significant changes that help them start thinking differently about their food and health. Once they’re walking on that path, then you can worry about inspiring them to eat more locally and in season or make the switch to more traditional foods.

Watch the video. Pass it on. Get inspired to plant your own fall garden now if you haven’t done so already.


  1. says

    I think what Michelle Obama is doing with the White House garden is great. Getting people to make small changes in their diets will eventually lead to larger changes. Once you realize how good real food tastes and how good it makes you feel, you’ll want to eat more and more of it. I’ve always wanted a garden, but I just rent a tiny flat with no land to grow a garden on. I should look into getting a plot at the community garden up the road.
    .-= Lovelyn

  2. Lauren Grosz says

    Oh, how I love this project! I appreciate that she refuses to feed the girls anything with HFCS and stand by the idea that teaching people about food is one of the best ways to teach them about freedom! I haven’t heard much about Michelle and the HFCS stand recently but she could really make that and real food her platform. Imagine the possibilities.

  3. says

    You know, I’m not a big Obama fan, but I really admire Michelle for doing this. What a great example! I SO agree with you about how people are just overwhelmed at the idea of changing their eating habits and how much they think it will cost! The perception is that it is so difficult and expensive, yet the reality I have experienced is the cost is not much different and in some ways it’s EASIER than eating the SAD. I just wrote about this a few days ago here:
    Thanks for the link! I had read some about her garden, but hadn’t seen this clip.
    .-= Kara

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing the video and the post. It makes me smile from ear to ear to see someone in the White House arena taking strides towards eating real food. So cool!

    Just like small changes can make huge changes in our health, so can the small act of planting a garden be the “seed” to something much bigger.

    Oh the possibilities!
    .-= Sirena

  5. says

    I noticed the same thing (omission of the word “organic”) when I saw this video and read articles about the White House Garden. I think it’s important to emphasize this. But I’m so glad that the first family is leading the way to back yard gardening.
    .-= Cathy Payne

  6. says

    The word “organic” is left out for two reasons. First, likely an attempt to not antagonize the big boys of industrial agriculture. But, the more importantl reason is that you cannot refer to a garden as organic if it is being raised on soil which has been spread with sewage sludge. I know that this garden tested within “acceptable levels” for lead, but there is so much more that could be in there! Many of these sewage sludge constituents may be harmful to health. I cringed as I watched the children handling this soil. If you want more information on the potential hazards of using “biosolids,” check out Disclaimer: I have no association with this website except as a reader.

  7. Brenda says

    I am extremely suspicious that this White House garden was meant to be more of a publicity stunt than any thing else. It could be a distraction so people don’t notice what Obama is really doing as in his tight association with Monsanto and not stopping GMO foods. He has appointed people from the evil company of Monsanto into the supreme court, the FDA and the White House. Plus there is the food safety bill that could take away our rights since it targets small farmers and could effect back yard gardens. Do a search for Obama and Monsanto and see all the articles on the internet. Here is one……..

    I’m afraid the White House garden could be a “what one hand so you don’t see what the other hand is doing” publicity stunt.

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