Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Hawaiian Victory

Victory gardens sprouted in backyards across the nation during WWII, and lately the concept is being revived and promoted as a way to feed our families during the current economic recession. I received this email, a post on, from Michael Pollan, the author of Omnivore’s Dilemma:

“The Washington Post reports that efforts by Eat the View and TheWhoFarm to get food grown again on the White House lawn have made it into the top 30 ideas submitted to the contest. The idea is one of over 7000 proposals submitted.

"Ideas for Change in America is a nationwide competition to identify the best ideas for change in America. The top 10 ideas will be presented to the Obama administration just before inauguration day and form the basis of a nationwide advocacy campaign to turn each idea into actual policy.

"In the entry, Victory Gardens 2.0, 'thousands of Americans and people from the around the world are asking the Obamas to lead by example on climate change, health policy, economic self-reliance, food security, and energy independence by replanting an organic food garden at the White House with the produce going to the First Kitchen and to local food pantries.

The many successes of the first Victory Garden movement were the result of effective public policy, bold leadership at a time of national crisis, and the commitment of millions of citizens who were ready to roll up their sleeves for the greater good.

There's no better, more symbolic place for launching a new National Victory Garden Program than at the White House, "America's House". There's no better, more urgent time than now. And there's NOTHING that can beat the fresh taste of locally-grown, home-cooked foods.

Cast your vote at Victory Gardens 2.0.'"

Should the Governor of Hawai'i have a victory garden? Perhaps we could call it an “’ohana garden,” or some other catchy name instead. What do you think should be planted in it? My organic farmer friend on the Big Island says taro, coffee, and papaya for starters.

How does a victory garden in Hawai'i differ from one on the continent? If you already have one, what’s growing in it? Or, if you could have one, what would you plant? Imagine Governor Lingle entertaining visiting heads of state at the mansion. She could provide a dinner that features fresh produce from her own victory garden to showcase Hawai'i’s agricultural endeavors – what would that include? I’m not suggesting that she has to work in it herself, but surely an organic garden would be a better model to follow than the current grass moat and it would at least demonstrate some symbolic support for sustainability in the Islands. Eleanor Roosevelt had planted one on the White House lawn in 1943, over objections of the USDA, and today governors in other states such as Massachusetts have already established theirs.


Hermes said...

Fascinating. What to me blogging is about, learning and seeing things I had never even thought about before. Thanks.

Alan McNarie said...

It would be nice if the governor's garden had a selection of "canoe plants" such as bananas, breadfruit, coconuts, etc.--and maybe some chickens to do insect patrols and fertilizer duty. I suspect, alas, that if Lingle planted a victory garden with your farmer friend's recommendation, she'd probably get her seed from CTAHR, which would supply her with GM taro, coffee and papaya....

Janice said...

Maybe Lingle could get them, but I don't think GM coffee and GM taro from CTAHR are officially available to the general public. However, GM papaya seeds are sold by CTAHR but one has to watch an educational video before purchase. Most papaya "volunteers" from store-bought papaya that come up in backyard compost tend to be GMO anyway.

The folks at the White House Organic Farm Project (TheWHOFarm) emphasize that these government demonstration gardens be organic. Canoe plants would be appropriate. And I can just see those chickens now...perhaps Japanese silkies....

UxCritter said...

Do you know anything about this young couple who ate from their hawaiian garden are now in a coma because they did not wash each and every leaf of the food they ingested in the Hawaiian soil?

I just heard this last week. I LOVED HAWAII when I was there and never heard of this till now. Is it a common fact there? Love your blog btw!!!!

Janice said...

Rat lungworm is a parasite that can be ingested by eating raw vegetables that have not been thoroughly washed, or by eating raw or undercooked prawns, crabs, frogs or snails. It's been in the news a lot lately because several people have gotten seriously ill with severe symptoms on the Big Island. You can read more on the Center for Disease Control website at this URL: