Campaign to grow vegetable garden on White House lawn

Several past U.S. presidents had vegetable gardens on the White House lawn. Eleanor Roosevelt started a victory garden on the White House lawn in 1943, which encouraged millions to do the same in their own front yards. When WWII ended, home gardeners were producing 40 percent of the United States' produce.

Roger Doiron, founder of Kitchen Gardens International (an organization that promotes kitchen gardening and home-cooking) hopes to convince the next US president to make a small vegetable garden on the 19 acres of grass surrounding the White House. His video about making a garden in the front yard of his own "white house" is entertaining and inspiring. This Lawn is Your Lawn


  1. but of course! Is not the direct application of the Emperor’s hand essential to the harvest? I like this direction. With luck it will end in a golden sickle.

  2. That stuff is so 1943. Jimmy Carter did all kinds of “lead by example” stuff when he was President, and we lambasted him for it. What makes anyone believe the next President wouldn’t get the same treatment?

  3. Anything to promo the idea that any yard even an apartment window or balcony is enough to farm a little food. If you can replant the hedge areas into productive uses of resources you will have made your simple low rent apartment or national mansion that much more valuable. The biggest difficulty is dealing with teen vandals ruining the crops or scaring chickens.

    Another idea that needs to become social mainstream is separating rubbish into compost, glass, and metals, plastic and most containers are better reused than recycled most of the time.

  4. That’s a fantastic idea and a marvelous sentiment.

    My mother had a home in the suburbs with an ENORMOUS backyard. She grew flowing plants, grapes, tomatoes, radishes and peas. Even when she was ill and in her last days she loved that garden and tended it with maternal care.

    Big empty green lawns have always looked silly to me. Use that space for fruits, vegetables and other useful plants. Even flowers help along with pollination. Grass just sucks up water and minerals.

  5. As if the farmers’ unions would allow this to happen. Still, I’d like to see it.

    As is U.S. tradition, whether or not the next President is celebrated or criticized for this would depend heavily upon their image. Baaaa!

  6. When WWII ended, home gardeners were producing 40 percent of the United States’ produce.

    That’s a tiny bit misleading. According to Wikipedia, Victory Gardens accounted for *up to* 40% of *vegetable* produce in the US. That statistic also has no source cited.

  7. The most fertile valleys are where our modern cities grew, it makes sense to backyard farm these rich well watered places.

    #3 unfortunately unless we get into serious social trouble and the people see a real leader like FDR (for better or worse) they will lambast the prez for this. People really were different and very naive in 1930.

  8. I’m doubting the new administration will go so far as to grow hemp at the White House, but what if they started a garden tended by some AmeriCorps and local teens in need of a wage? That would be a cool demo.

  9. A few years ago while I was visiting my uncle, A Dr in a medical complex. He ask me if I was hungry, we walked around the building while he reached between hedges and such that surrounded the building gathering this and that, He commented that the buildings automatic watering system was the best part and he just slipped a few seeds in.

  10. Greenwashing the White House! How much will we pay for the people who might maintain a garden on the White House lawn? — because you know the president and probably his family aren’t going to touch it. Why not push for the next pres to let the White House lawn go wild, maybe put up a sign showing how much money they saved by not artificially maintaining it as a lawn?

    founder of R.Y.S.A.B.L.
    (Relinquish Your Spoons and Bourgeois Lawncare)

  11. @13
    one problem with guerrilla gardening food among ornamentals is the pesticides they may use without you knowing

  12. I wonder if the White House is getting subsidies for not raising vegetables on the lawn, similar to “not raising pigs” payments for farmers.

  13. 40% of produce was grown at home?

    That’s unAmericanâ„¢! I mean, where’s the profit in that!?

  14. In all seriousness, I think the next first family should plant a tree (or ten or one hundred) around the White House. Let the lawn recede under the new canopy. Meanwhile, the new and improved administration will hopefully be hard at work allocating new seed funds for all types of community agriculture the whole country over. Sure they should set an example, but they should go way beyond the symbolism of doing whatever they do on their grounds and really help community organizations get started on their own projects. (My favorite ever was the Santa Cruz, CA Homeless Garden Project.) How about growing vegetables in the Prisons? There is a project that might actually do a little rehabilitation- for the land and the people. I hope to see many more garden type programs instituted and supported by our new fearless leader.

  15. I’d think an oil derrick on the White House lawn would be more appropriate for the current administration – there’s presumably no oil to be found there, but that never bothered Bush much back when he was officially in the oil business. Or at least subcontract out some corn to Archer Daniels Midland.

  16. The next administration should hire David Holmgren, give him a million dollar budget, and ask him to convert the lawn into a shining example of what permaculture can do.

    @19, if you go by what the russians say you can find oil anywhere if you drill deep enough. We westerners are blinkered by our belief that oil is primarily biogenic and is sourced from shallow places, rather then produced from the deep earth and cached in shallow rocks.

  17. yeah,but the Russians also maintained Lysenko was right too. I’d trust their science more if it had less ideological interference. Putin these days may pretend to be about honest, rapacious greed, but he’s really still pushing the personality cult first.

  18. @21,

    Er, my last sentence should have concluded with “,they say.” I didn’t mean to imply that that idea was my belief. As it happens I’m totally unqualified to form an opinion about the origins of oil.

  19. Success!! Tonight’s news was that Michelle Obama will have a vegetable garden planted on the South Lawn of the White House as a teaching tool about good nutrition.

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