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Digging up the true story of the D.C. organic gardens

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a-vilsack-72.JPGWas there dirty work at the crossroads in creation of the White House garden?

That question came up in a recent discussion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "people's gardens."

The USDA now has some 1,500 people's gardens at its facilities around the country that have donated nearly 1 million pounds of food to food banks.

"They are all over the world," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said during a recent trip to Chicago. "There is one in Korea and there is one in France."

Vilsack said Michelle Obama has been instrumental in the spread of similar gardens, partly because of the organic garden she created at the White House.

"The first lady's effort has really galvanized people to recognize that they can grow their own food," he said. "It's galvanized a movement of community gardens. It has galvanized urban farming. It has galvanized schools basically seeing this as great teachable opportunity. She has been absolutely terrific.

"She is passionionate about this, and she has gone about it in the very best way."

But to get to the roots of the story? Before there was a White House garden, the USDA jack-hammered an asphalt parking lot on the corner of its site and created an organic garden.

But almost before the first seed could sprout, there was competition over at the White House.

At the time, the USDA's chief of staff was married to the first lady's chief of staff. And next thing you know, there's an organic garden at the White House?

Coincidence? Try telling them that at the USDA.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Frisbie published on June 25, 2012 4:49 PM.

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