As many saw in headlines on March 20, 2009 Michelle Obama began cultivating the first organic garden at the white house. With the help of students from Bancroft Elementary and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Obama created a milestone in our nations history. The White House blog has a series of postings that highlight the importance of organic gardens in strengthening communities. Further, the blog speaks to the positive environmental impacts of organic gardening and the inherent nutritious value. The USDA promoted organic gardening through “Healthy Garden” workshops throughout the summer.
The organic garden is central to the Pacific Quest therapeutic model. As this blog evolves, we hope to highlight the crucial role that the organic garden plays in the students journey. As pointed out in the closing ceremony of our parent program yesterday – “the garden is a brilliant reflection of the work the students do in Hawaii.” Gardening is demanding, especially in Hawaii. The garden requires the students to work together to germinate seedlings, cultivate beds, and harvest produce. The garden breeds cohesion and team work, strengthening emotional safety and social bonds.
Obama and Vilsack are taking a community movement to a national level. Many communities across the country have found that developing and maintaining community organic gardens bring people together. A good example of this is the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods P-Patch Program. Seattle boasts 68 gardens within the city limits and is expected to build four more by the end of the year. The program gets community members out of their houses and into the gardens – TOGETHER.
Expect many more postings from the PQ team on the importance of organic gardening – for individuals, communities, and the earth!