Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chef-In-Chief Michelle

I'm very pleased by the new initiatives taking shape to promote local, organic, healthy foods. I really believe it's the next wave of the larger Green movement--and one that brings with it important reforms in food production and safety. I felt so strongly about it that I even sent a letter to President Obama asking him to make the White House an example. I wasn't the only one.

Apparently they got the message. Michelle Obama has been championing real food since arriving in her new post. The New York Times has a nice article summarizing her efforts so far:
In her first weeks in the White House, Mrs. Obama has emerged as a champion of healthy food and healthy living. She has praised community vegetable gardens, opened up her own kitchen to show off the White House chefs’ prowess with vegetables and told stories about feeding less fattening foods to her daughters. (source)

Typical of the new regime's style, Mrs. Obama asked the White House Chef give a speech about nutrition, a first so far anyone can remember.

Back here in Canada, one of my parishoners suggested using a patch of grass that is concealed from the street to grow a small vegetable garden. I think this is a brilliant idea and plan to pursue it as the weather changes! Its an area about 10 feet wide and 25 feet long--not huge, but we could probably do some nice stuff in there. My only concern is veggie-theft, but then again if people are that hungry I'm not going to feel too badly about them stealing a few tomatoes.

I've also been thinking about the possibility of a neighbourhood garden for Rathnelly Republic (where Betsy and I live). My current favourite spot for a community garden would be between the Toronto Hydroelectric Sub-Station and the High Level Pumping Station. You can see the area I'm talking about in the satellite image below:

Right now I don't have time to organize creating such a garden, but if anyone wants to pick up the flag note that the City of Toronto has resources and processes available to help communities found such gardens. They even have a city staffer to help. Neat, heh?

This is the sort of thing I want to bring to the Rathnelly Area Resident's Association and see what they think. It's possible they already have something like this in the works. Betsy and I did volunteer ourselves for the committee putting together the "Rathnelly Day" party that the neighbourhood holds bi-annually.

Rathnelly is a very colourful neighbourhood. It's called a "Republic" because they tried to secede from Canada in the 1960's. They elected a queen and organized all the children into a militia (called the "Rathnelly Republic Irregulars," I think). The kids were given hellium balloons as an "Air Farce." So every-other year they have a big block party with a parade, contests, food, dancing, etc. This year's theme is "pirates." I'm already thinking about my costume....


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