I wanted to share with you a copy of the letter I wrote to newly formed Obama Foundation. I wanted to share my big idea with them.
“More than a library, or a museum, the Obama Presidential Center will be a place that brings people together and inspires individuals and communities to take on big challenges. Your ideas, your values and your input will be vital to our work of inspiring people to get involved and make change.”
Dear Mrs. Obama,
Kudos to you. You made it through 8 years in the public eye as First Lady and you did it with grace and class. You set a standard that will be hard for future First Ladies to measure up.
Back in 2008 I did all I could to help the Eat the View campaign that pushed to get a veggie garden back in the White House. I had learned from years of work on school food advocacy, that gardens are a great way to inspire and educate kids about real food.
I was thrilled when you broke ground on the garden and even more happy when I learned it would be free of pesticides, much to the chagrin of Mid America CropLife association and the petrochemical industry.
Your Let’s Move program was innovative and helped to shine a bright light on kid’s food. It was no surprise to me that it met with great opposition from the food industry. I learned that when it comes to school food advocacy, Big Food is running the game. You focused on movement and got us all dancing instead of picking a fight with industrial food giants. Good job!
Alice Waters showed me that the way around the food industry is the garden. She said when kids grow food, they eat food. Its a simple equation: more veggies = less junk.
Gardens offer even more opportunities to better health than just the increased veggie intake.
Soil micro organisms play a role in better health. They boost our immunity and our mood.
Slowing down to the rhythms of nature helps us stop that often harmful habit of instant gratification. Its especially useful for kids to learn this early on. Peas and lettuce may grow fast, but they do not grow over night! The garden gives the gift of patience.
Digital de-tox. We’ve all become a little too closely connected to our screens. The garden provides screen free activities that help to unscramble our brains.
Respect and connection with living things. Many of us have lost our connection with Mother Nature. Gardens reconnect us to veggies, weeds, weather, along with critters big and small.
I’d like to suggest that the Obama Foundation get digging and work to create children’s veggie gardens everywhere across the country. Like FoodCorps on steroids. We need to fill our preschools, churches, housing projects and community centers with veggie gardens and garden ambassadors.
Think of it as health care, building resilience for future generations, and it will cut down on carbon emissions too!
I’ve been working with a non-profit child care center in Mount Kisco NY for close to decade facilitating a seed to table program with 25 garden beds all over our toddler, preschool and after school playgrounds. I’d be happy to share more with you in hopes that veggie gardens for young people will grow like weeds!
I’m available to help your foundation get gardens going everywhere across the country. Let’s do this!
Susan Rubin 🙂