Foodies Celebrate White House Veggie Garden

Making Healthy Eating Accessible

In a troubled economy, the cost of shipping food across the country instead of growing and buying local products can add up. But so can the price of eating organic because foods cultivated without the use of things like conventional pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones require a little more work and care. Not all students eat lunch like Sasha and Malia Obama do at their private school, where lunches like pad thai, asparagus and quiche are organic, trans-fat free and locally sourced.

"We're all in the middle of a recession, like we're all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the 'green' market," renowned chef Anthony Bourdain said in a January interview with

Alice Waters, the nation's leading advocate for sustainable agriculture, has been pushing for the Obamas to take the lead on food policy and plant a garden, most recently on CBS' "60 Minutes."

Waters recently defended herself against critics like Bourdain.

"I feel that good food should be a right and not a privilege and it needs to be without pesticides and herbicides," Waters told CBS' Lesley Stahl this weekend on "60 Minutes." "And everybody deserves this food. And that's not elitist."

To make healthy eating more accessible, author Seaman suggested going to a warehouse store like Costco and splitting food costs with a friend. She also suggested cooking a few dishes on the weekends that will last for the days ahead. Though that requires organization and a little time, Seaman said homemade meals using inexpensive ingredients do not have to break the bank.

Alice Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition at the School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, said planting a garden and encouraging children to eat well should be applauded. But she cautioned that not everyone can access fresh vegetables, particularly at certain times of the year.

"During winter months in the Northeast, fresh vegetables can be hard to come by," Lichtenstein said. "It's important for people to understand that frozen vegetables can be of a higher quality, and more affordable, than fresh."

Previous Gardens at the White House

The announcement of plans to build a vegetable garden at the White House is a victory for the advocates who have been pushing for one since long before the Obamas moved in.

Simon and his partner Casey Gustowarow did so predominately from a bus with a rooftop garden, driving around the country before the election to gather signatures in support of an effort to go organic at the White House.

Simon sent signatures, now totaling about 15,000, to the Obama transition team before the inauguration.

"Regardless of red state or blue state where we traveled, people thought this would be a wonderful idea no matter who moved into the White House," Simon told

Shortly after the president's election, Daniel Humm, executive chef at New York City's Eleven Madison Park, told, "They could have a great herb garden around the White House, or they could have their own chickens or their own eggs. That would be really cool to see. It also would be a great thing to see for the kids, as well."

Still, the Obamas' garden will not be the first to grace the grounds of the White House.

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