Eat the view

It seems Michael Pollan was not alone in calling for the next US president to lead the way on self sufficient food production by growing his own food on the White House lawn. There is a whole movement at Eat the View focused on the fact that today American food travels an average of 1500 miles from farm to fork. The process of planting, fertilizing, processing, packaging, and transporting uses a great deal of energy and contributes to the cause of global warming.


This Lawn Is Your Lawn-3rd Place Tie from Brighter Planet on Vimeo.

It seems as well as Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous victory garden during WW2, Woodrow Wilson also used to farm sheep on the White House lawn in 1918:

sheep on white house lawn

So maybe it’s time to start a call for the same thing to happen here?  Let’s find out which Parties in NZ will commit to growing their own food on Parliament Lawn.

12 thoughts on “Eat the view

  1. As long as they leave the pohutkawas there, I’d love to see a mixed fruit trees and salad garden out the front. Nice fresh fruit for those sunny lunchtimes for civil servants…

  2. Better still, lets just get rid of parliament.. and politicians influence on our lives.. then you can do whatever the heck you like on its lawn.

  3. Can someone explain to me why long distance importing of food is so bad? While the way it is done may be problematic, the idea is not. Ancient Rome used to import grain from Egypt; in the 16th & 17th Centuries, European nations used to import spices & tea from Asia, and coffee & sugar from the Americas; in the 19th Century, Britain imported meat from New Zealand, and it was shipped there with a sailing ship (very carbon neutral, I would say).

  4. Surely you can see that food eaten closer to where it is produced would on average be responsible for fewer emissions? Eg. we sending crackers and butter to Oz and they sending the same here can’t help the situation.

    I don’t think Rome had an emissions problem.

  5. I noticed that the council is already growing silver beet just outside parliament the other day – the garden bed by Courtney Place was looking quite edible. Christchurch also has that tendency (or used to, haven’t been there for a while). Not sure that I want to eat anything grown in that motor traffic density, especially not in an ash tray, but as a proof of concept it’s fine.

  6. “I don’t think Rome had an emissions problem”

    That is my point. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water; there is nothing wrong with long distance food consumption as long as the method of transportation is efficient.

  7. unless, john-ston, the same food can be grown here at home in a manner that is beneficial to the environment and has a knowable production history (isn’t drenched in some unidentified chemical) and provides occupation for people from the local community, is cheaper because of reduced costs of production (including transport costs), provides a buffer in case of major shifts in availabitily and so on and so on. Arguing for foods produced in distant markets is pushing manure uphill these days. Don’t even start on seasonality/ community building and the snuffing out of initiative due to buying offshore. :-)

  8. Greenfly, if we had to produce every little thing in New Zealand, we would return to the 1980s era nightmare where everything cost a fortune. New Zealand can only achieve economies of scale in a few items, so why not concentrate on them.

    Find yourself an economics textbook and look at comparative advantage.

  9. John-ston’s point about trading food across the globe and being carbon-neutral is a good one.

    Fair Trade is a case in point – I want to be able to buy Fair Trade coffee, bananas and chocolate for all sorts of reasons besides liking these commodities: helps the growers earn an income etc.

    I’d rather see us support the carbon-neutral approach to international food trading than to try and stop it, which isn’t going to be possible any way. People love trading.

    There is a wine-grower in the Nelson area who has made it a point of difference that his wine is a) organically-produced, b) carbon-neutrally produced, c) carbon-neutrally shipped to England.

    Good on him.

  10. >>Arguing for foods produced in distant markets is pushing manure uphill these days.

    If that were true, we wouldn’t have an economy left.

    Thankfully, it isn’t.

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