Green Eggs and Change: Five Reasons Why the Obamas Should Feature Sustainable Agriculture at the 2009 White House Egg Roll

It’s hard not to feel a bit sorry for President-Elect Barack Obama. Despite all the rainbow of pomp and circumstance surrounding the upcoming inauguration, he’s walking into a dark storm of problems and crisis, wrapped in a hefty price tag.

So here’s a reminder, Mr. President-Elect, to remember the low-hanging fruit. Take advantage of easy opportunities to showcase the positive, the healthy, and the true “green” in our country. Take the White House Egg Roll, for example. The longest standing tradition of the White House, for over one hundred years children have gathering on the White House Lawn the Monday after Easter for egg rolling fun with the President and First Lady. Don’t just take this event at face value and follow the same plug and play routine the Bush White House succumbed to – use this opportunity to honor our country’s agricultural roots while celebrating how American farmers grow great food by showcasing the breadth of agriculture that now also captures the growth and vibrancy of the organic and sustainable farming movement.

Representing the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture, organic and sustainable farming holds the potential to reinvent our food system to create healthy, fair, green and affordable localized food sources for us all. Look at the diversity of egg alone: from free-range to organic eggs, white, brown and even blue eggs now grace the aisles of some grocery stores and farm stands at farmers’ markets. Such an educational focus for the upcoming White House Egg Roll, scheduled for April 13, 2009, would embrace the face and pace of change transforming and restoring our American farmlands and food system because it will:

1. Root for Fit Kids
Stewarding the land and growing local, fresh, seasonal food sources further strengthens a healthy future for the honored Egg Roll attendees: our nation’s youth. Starting with the egg, arguably one of the most complete and nutritious protein sources available, farm-fresh food fuels our children toward a healthy future.

2. Savor Spring’s Fresh and Local Harvest

The Egg Roll coincides with the opening of the farmers’ market season nationally and can also serve as a timely stimulus for Americans to start home gardens, revitalizing the spirit, sacrifice and responsibility made famous by the Victory Garden era of WWII.

3. Celebrate Egg (and Farming Practice) Diversity
Free-range and organic eggs can represent a portion of the 15,000 eggs used for this event, reflecting how the agriculture industry itself has changed.

4. Grow the Green Economy
Demonstrate that sustainable agriculture and land stewardship serve as an integral principle behind President-Elect Obama’s green economy initiative, putting people to work growing great food.

5. No Budget Increase Required

Transforming the Egg Roll into an educational opportunity wouldn’t require increased funding – just a reprioritization of existing resources. Doing so makes a public statement to us all that we can take things up a notch by creatively using our existing resources.

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