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

March 16, 2009 | 11:17 am

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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