America’s Garden or Subsidy Garden?

by Catherine Haug, June 10, 2011

Shortly after becoming First Lady, Michelle Obama started a mostly-Organic kitchen garden on the White House grounds, with help from local school kids (see my post: Victory Garden 2009). Each year this project has been a great success, not only in providing the White House with fresh, healthful produce, but also in raising awareness with children around the country, on the importance – and fun – of growing your own.

What would America’s Garden look like if it instead represented the crops supported by our subsidy dollars? And how does government ag policy affect small scale producers?

America’s Garden vs. Subsidy Garden

The White House Kitchen Garden occupies 1500 square feet and was planted this spring with the following crops:

Arugula, bok choi, beets, broccoli, blueberries, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, collards, endive, garlic, greens, herbs (perennial) kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mint, peas, radish, raspberries, spinach, turnips, rhubarb, a Three Sisters Garden (corn, legume, squash), plus the Thomas Jefferson Bed.

So Roger Doiron of Kitchen Gardeners International wondered what the garden might look like “if it were planted to reflect the relative importance of the crops that our tax dollars are actually supporting.”

To see a sketch of the actual garden, and Mr. Doiron’s hypothetical subsidy garden, see Organic Consumers Assoc. (OCA) article: Which Garden Model Should We be Showering with Our Tax Dollars?

Attention Small Scale Producers:

See related item from Harvest Public Media: Small scale producers: How does the government help or hurt you?

“This summer, Congress is beginning to hash out the next Farm Bill. Many people feel agricultural policy favors big business and contributes to the consolidation of big business. Harvest Public Media is exploring how ag policy affects the smallest producers in the U.S. If you’re a small-scale producer, what you know from your own work and experience can help us cover this story.  Share your insights to help inform our reporting by clicking HERE.”

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