Battling pirates, charming foreign leaders, racing to combat swine flu – no, this isn’t a new James Bond movie – this is our President. To say that his first 100 days has been interesting is an understatement. Jump start a fledgling leadership the entire world is watching and pundits will fill the media with analysis on all that’s been accomplished in these few weeks.
Let’s join them. How does he fare with the green thumb crowd? Gardeners know a lot can be done in 100 days, after all, it’s almost a growing season. In that time there’s food, flowers and fresh air, plus the stress release of getting a little exercise.
In 100 days three positives and one negative have been accomplished, but this is just my opinion – if you have other nominations for the green thumb watch, please send them along and I’ll post them. For now, here’s a quick run-down on a few steps forward:
1) Returning pavement to soil. February 12, 2009, USDA announces the People’s Garden. Breaking pavement on the grounds of USDA to commemorate the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln, a government agency proves it can change the way it thinks about land use by turning parking to plantings. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the intention to put in community gardens at USDA facilities worldwide.
2) Planting a garden. March 20, 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama and a group of school kids sliced up the White House lawn to install a kitchen garden. Braving pressure from the pesticide industry, the plan is to manage the garden organically. No doubt this is the biggest factor for the recent trips abroad for our First Family: they just want to shop seed sales around the globe.
3) Saving the trees. March 30, 2009, President Obama signs the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which puts over 2 million acres of wilderness under federal protection. The largest preservation bill to be signed in 15 years, wilderness in nine states, including Colorado, are now protected. Oh, yes, it saves rivers, watersheds, and historic places as well.
Now for a negative: no new sod on the National Mall. I know, I know – nobody finds turf stimulating, but if any place needs a face lift it’s that mall. Millions of feet have scuffed the grass away, leaving it less than lovely. But not everything can be accomplished in a short season, so perhaps we’ll see more focus on the Mall’s lawn now that spring has arrived.
As the focus is on the first 100 days of President Obama’s term, remember to ask yourself what you will do in the next 100. Change can’t all be from the top. Consider growing food, and donating some to the local food banks – fresh produce is in demand for folks who need help.
Participate in an ancient tradition of swapping seeds with another gardener – this small act is what brings people together. I’ll be exchanging with Chan, David, Veronica, and others who love good food fresh from the garden.
Shop local produce from farmer’s markets and roadside stands; put a face to your food. When you know the grower, you have a better connection to the fabric of your food systems, and a healthier way to eat.
One step daily to build your community means a hundred steps a few months from now.