12/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

An Organic Farm On The White House Grounds

As Michael Pollan wrote in an Open Letter to the next president, "You, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact -- so easy to overlook these past few years -- that the health of a nation's food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention." This is because, as Pollan writes, unless the next president addresses the food system, "[He] will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change."

It's crucial that as Obama takes office he begins to think about these issues and how to address them. One of the most important moves he can take is both practical and symbolic. Not only should Obama appoint a chef to the White House who understands good food and will serve meals made from local ingredients, he should appoint a White House Farmer. There is a group that has been touring the country this year promoting the idea of a White House organic farm.

Such a farm, built on the extensive White House grounds, would be a symbol of independence, freedom, and self-sufficiency. But it would also be a symbol of the community that local food production builds. As The White House Organic Farm project lays out in its plan, the farm should involve school children and Americans with disabilities to help grow the farm's produce. The farm should also be built with compost from the food waste of the three branches of government. Its produce, in addition to supplying the White House itself, should be delivered by bicycle to local food pantries and schools.
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