The Clever Root Magazine – November 7, 2016
by Taylor Haynes
In 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama, aided by local school children, planted the first seeds of what would become an impressive garden on the grounds of the White House, overflowing with vegetables, fruit and herbs. Nearby, the White House beehives keep busy pollinating the garden and making honey, which is often used as a gift for foreign dignitaries.
On February 25, 2016, the First Lady visited the Washington D.C. home and garden of The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Compost Project Manager Linda Bilsens and Eriks Brolis. Her visit was a complete surprise — but Brolis and Bilsens were more than happy to give the First Lady a tour. The First Lady even sifted the couples’ compost. In return, she personally invited the couple to visit the White House Kitchen Garden.
“[Michelle Obama] is so elegant,” said Bilsens. “She is used to be people being speechless around her. She started the conversation for us. It was clear to me that she really cared about the subject of a healthy lifestyle for everyone, which involves growing your own food, and eating it and taking care of your soil. When my husband brought up composting, she was totally with it.”
The White House Kitchen Garden was the first of its kind on the grounds since Eleanor Roosevelt tended to her Victory Garden during World War II.