Victory Garden?

Entertaining little bit in the FOOD section today—that by the way was why you didn’t find a paper this morning, PB. Sorry, Wednesday is a day to revel in recipes whilst busing to the office—whereby Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Jerry Weast lists valid reasons why one of Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity efforts might not be such a brilliant idea. In a word, RATS, among other issues.

Because vegetable gardens are a food source for pests, create liabilities for children with food allergies and have other associated concerns, the Department of Facilities Management staff has not approved gardens designed to produce food,” he wrote.

Food gardens posed other problems as well, Weast said. Vegetable gardens are extremely labor-intensive and require extensive watering and weeding. That the prime harvest takes place in the summer when students and teachers are on vacation was also a concern.


Last October, Donna Marchick, a program administrator at the Department of Facilities Management, informed teachers at Maryvale Elementary School that food was not permitted to be grown on school grounds.

“As you know,” she wrote, “food-bearing plants attract pests. Maryland law restricts the use of pesticides on school grounds. Therefore, planting of food bearing plants is prohibited by MCPS.”

What a couplea scrooges! Bah! Humbug!

(Not mentioned in said article, the fact that these Untied States once upon a time saw fit to ban child labor…and if you don’t think gardening is labor, then you’ve never dug tomatoes…)

These are not bad ideas when you say them out loud, of course. Let’s get the kids away from their video games, get them outside in the sun, have them dig around in the dirt, give them some exercise and pound on their work ethic, and get them closer to Gaia and to learning more about food and what it takes to git it. It looks great on paper.

But there’s a reason that such notions have traditionally been carried on by a strictly extra-curricular tradition known as “4-H.” I think Mr. Weast and Mr. Marchick have hit on a few. Sorry, Mrs. Obama.

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