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Alice Waters renews call for White House organic garden on '60 Mintues' segment Sunday

Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse, was featured in a "60 Minutes" profile Sunday night on CBS (the video is embedded above in case you missed it). In the segment, Lesley Stahl was treated to a simple yet lovely looking breakfast in Waters' home, and the two talked about organic food, Waters' famed Berkeley restaurant, her Edible Schoolyard project and her desire to ultimately persuade President Obama to allow a vegetable garden on the White House lawn. While Waters is hardly the first to call for such a garden (and indeed, various presidents have had gardens on the grounds over the years), she has been a leading voice and, ahem, was a supporter of Obama’s campaign to become president.

The bestselling author has been pushing for the garden since at least 1993; she may see her wish come true with the current White House occupants, both of whom know a thing or two about healthful food.  Then again, former President Clinton is a known Chez Panisse fan, and we saw no garden bloom at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. under his watch, other than a small one on the roof that Hillary Rodham Clinton helped set up (It also should be noted that Laura Bush, to her credit, advised the White House kitchen staff to buy organic produce whenever possible, even though no large garden grew under her watch, either).

Others have called on Obama to help set an example to our fast food-obsessed nation via an organic garden at the White House, most notably the White House Organic Farm Project and Kitchen Gardeners International's campaign at eattheview.com. With fast-food consumption up in tough economic times, there are those who think the time has come for a garden that is not the Rose Garden to bloom in Washington, D.C. -- if only as a symbol.

-- Charlie Amter

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With organic food, we all win: better health, better taste and a better planet! If people can buy unnecessary things like expensive brand names bags or shoes… why not invest in the things that go INto our ONLY body?

An egg in a fireplace. Oh the carbon!

Americans are getting fat eating heavily processed convenience foods. Whether foods are "USDA Organic" or "drum circle sustainable" or conventionally raised is irrelevant. American's would be significantly healthier eating home cooked meals. Alice's breathy appeals, at least in sound bite form, fall far short of anything actionable. People have no idea how to cook. They have microwaves and home entertainment centers, not cooking hearths and backyard lettuce patches. A demonstration of basic egg cookery in a real kitchen with affordable ingredients and a real stove would be a starting point. Get back to the massage table and give that some thought.

Saving our soil from sterility and preventing the collapse of ecological systems is why the government should encourage organic farming techniques and support regional sustainable food systems.

This is setting a great example of family values. It is a sign that a family with children is living in the white house again. From the size of this garden, Michelle must be planning on lots of help from other family members.

More people should plant gardens. There is always plenty of wildlife to see in a garden; from butterflies to dragonflies and hummingbirds. There is nothing better than fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach or chard. Leave some room for some cantaloupe and summer crook neck also. My family members have planted a garden every year since WWII. There is nothing more All-American than planting a Victory Garden.

I have nothing against vegetables, organic farming or the Slow Food movement, but holy jeez I want to throttle Allice Waters.

Trying to push organic gardening as anything other than an indulgence and a luxury is naive at best and insulting at worst.


This was a wonderful interview and I completely agree that what we are eating is making us sick. It is time for the American people to wake up and see what processed food is doing to their health and their lives.


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