Gardening with Michelle

There’s no question Michelle Obama is a trendsetter.  The First Lady’s presence on the national scene has impacted fashion, and first and foremost international travel. Michelle is also an outspoken proponent of healthy living and a forceful encourager of eating locally grown vegetables. In an effort to persuade Americans to grow their own string beans, Michelle has decided to branch out and share the joy of White House gardening.

Aside from dyeing the water in the fountain on the South Lawn shamrock green for St. Patrick’s Day, at the first harvest of her backyard garden Mrs. Obama shared: “The planting of this garden was one of the first things I wanted to do as First Lady here at the White House.” That must be why after moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, following the spring thaw Michelle ripped up the South Lawn and planted a kitchen garden.

Although Mrs. Obama fancies herself an expert on growing arugala, the truth is that it’s unlikely the woman ever planted so much as a tomato. Michelle admitted she “never had a vegetable garden,” but “recalled that the idea for this one came from her experiences as a working mother trying to feed her daughters, Malia and Sasha, a good diet.”

Remember America’s newest First Lady strutting out to the South Lawn, spade in hand, getting her hands dirty and doing it with style?  Who can forget Michelle vowing, with a laugh, that “Virtually the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, ‘whether they like it or not.’”

Now, after showing up for “kitchen garden” photo-ops twice a year, at planting and harvest, Mrs. Obama has signed a book deal with Crown Publishing to expound on her personal experience as a seasoned gardener.  The book will also include “family recipes” served up hot on the table by the Obamas’ private chef, Sam Kass, who came from Chicago and now cooks “family recipes” for the Obamas at the White House.

Sorry to say, Michelle writing an instructional book on gardening is sort of like an agoraphobic preaching about the benefits of the great outdoors.  As for the home cooked “family recipes” – it’s best not to go there.

Crown publishing said in a release: “In her book, Mrs. Obama will tell the story of the garden she has established on the South Lawn of the White House and explore how improved access to fresh, locally grown food can promote healthier eating habits for families and communities.”

The announcement was made in conjunction with “Mrs. Obama’s planting event, timed to maximize free publicity with pictures of Washington DC school children helping Mrs. Obama plant the garden.”

Following her husband’s example, the First Lady will employ a “ghostwriter” who will help write the photo-filled hardcover publication. When it comes to gardening, proper timing is imperative, which is why the untitled book will be released just prior to the 2012 election season with plans for all proceeds to be donated to charity.

Rest assured, in printed word, America’s First Gardener will strongly recommend to those who tend toward prepared food that it’s time to follow her example and pull on a pair of $500 Tory Burch gardening boots, head out back, turn up the lawn and plant soon-to-be FDA-food-safety-regulated spinach seeds.

Only good can come of it.  When Mrs. Obama first “broke ground,” who would have thought that a few carefully placed kale seeds would sprout into a “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign where baby carrots would replace peanut butter cookies in school cafeterias across the nation?  Now the effort stands to place Michelle Obama in the company of famous female author/gardeners.

Question: Are the gardening-impaired supposed to believe Michelle’s expertise has developed so much over the past two years that despite hardly ever being home, she manages to oversee an intricate, complex horticultural operation? After all, it does take commitment. The White House “four-season enterprise” has “multiple plantings through the year and ‘hoop houses’ erected in the winter to warm the soil and protect the plants from the weather.”

Purportedly, the First Lady personally provides her family with bushels full of fresh pickings year ‘round from the “produce of the garden–and a nearby beehive.” The beehive produces honey for health-conscious home brewed beer and for drizzling on 600-calorie desserts.  Michelle alleges the harvest is so bountiful that some of the produce is donated to Miriam’s Kitchen, not to be confused with the Capital Area Food Bank, made famous when Mrs. Obama handed out groceries to the homeless in $545 Lanvin sneakers.

The White House “organic garden” is planted “in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises … control harmful bugs.”   Now, prior to the First Lady’s publication of her book, America is finding out that Michelle having an “organic garden” is a “key misconception.”

With a third planting underway, it has been disclosed “Mrs. Obama’s garden was never, ever an organic garden, as defined under federal guidelines.”  In fact, no one knows for sure if anyone actually ate so much as a leaf of lettuce from the actual garden.

In 2009 it seemed as if Michelle’s “organic dream [was] dashed by a nasty toxic legacy lurking in the soils of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It turns out that a previous Presidential gardening team had used sewage sludge for fertilizer.” Which chapter in the ‘Gardening with Michelle’ book will discuss the pros and cons of using concentrated sewage for fertilizer?

Sludge is “a stinking, sticky, dark-grey to black paste, it’s everything homeowners, hospitals and industries put down their toilets and drains.” Michelle’s sludge was left behind by the Clinton gardeners, a revelation that gives new meaning to “locally grown” and most definitely explains why Michelle insists on wearing boots.

Who knows – maybe sometime between 2009 and 2011, a bulldozer beep alerted dutiful weed puller Barack to move aside so the contaminated soil could be removed and the kiddies could safely eat the beets Barry hates.

Regardless, contaminated sludge or no sludge, this year shamrocks will make green the garden, not the fountain, and Michelle will likely be honorary cover girl for the Herb Companion and Organic Gardening.  The First Lady’s book is sure to be a home farming bible for unemployed Americans with no money for food and nothing to do.  Soon, across the nation, everyone will be planting rhubarb, doing the “growing dance” and hoping to God, in light of past toxic waste problems, that this season Bo, the First Dog, will steer clear of the White House pea patch.

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