by Michael dEstries
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We already know that Barack Obama will be one of the more health-conscious Presidents (with regards to food and exercise) when he assumes office in a few weeks — but how about past American leaders? Turns out that both Clinton and Bush dined on organic and local fare long before it was “hip” to do so. In a recent letter to the NY Times, the former executive chef to the White House from 1994-2005, Walter Scheib, revealed that the most famous residence in the world even has a rooftop garden. From his letter,

From 1994 to 2005 I was the executive chef at the White House. This offered me not only the personal honor of serving two unique and interesting first families, but the professional challenge of fulfilling Hillary Clinton’s mandate of bringing contemporary American cuisine and nutritionally responsible food to the White House. This meant that nearly all the product used was obtained from local growers and suppliers. There was a small garden on the roof of the White House where produce was grown.

The ethic of the purchasing and the cooking at the White House under my direction and under the continuing direction of Cris Comerford is one of respect for the pedigree of the product and manner it is grown, gathered, raised or caught. The Clinton and Bush families dined regularly on organic foods. Both wagyu and grass-fed beef were frequently used.

Should be interesting to see if Obama takes this a step further. Writer Michael Pollan has suggested a five-acre fruit and vegetable garden for the White House. There’s even a activist website called EatTheView run by Kitchen Gardners International urging Obama to get out a shovel and inspire people to grow their own food.

Sure would beat having just a small rooftop garden — especially with all of the property the White House could use for cultivation. What do you think?

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • jeanruss

    Great! Organic food for them and gmo’s for “the little people”. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  • Hil

    Well, I have a hunch that organic food might be getting more accessable in the near future…but it could just be wishful thinking on my part.

  • NatureMom

    I would like to see this but doubt it will happen. No doubt food growers and food companies would have a conniption and bash him for hurting their profits and negatively impacting the economy (in THEIR opinion). But I would LOVE to be proven wrong!

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  • RemyC

    Nobody is forcing the “little people” to eat GMOs. GMOs are imposed on the “little people” by Monsanto.

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  • Derek Fell

    I designed a garden for the White House during the Ford Administration when the President advisedd citizens to plant a vegetable garden to beat inflation. My book titled THE WHITE HOUSE VEGETABLE GARDEN explains how I was appointed chairman of a committee to see the garden implemented. Unfortunately, before it could be planted the Viet Nam War caused Ford to focus on bringing the war to a conclusion and planting a vegetable garden under the changed circumstances was seen as too frivolous.

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