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YES! Magazine

TransFARM the White House Lawn

Amanda Fuller and Justin Mog

Two Peace Corps volunteers decided to write a letter to Obama and suggest that he establish an organic "Hope Garden" at the White House, and of course hire them to manage it.

They are part of a growing movement of advocates for a White House vegetable garden, and why not? The Obama family will have a bigger lawn than most of us, they like vegetables, and we all should be planting a little bit to eat local and eat healthy. 1x1trans.gif

1x1trans.gifAmanda Fuller and Justin Mog proposing a Hope Garden for the White House
1x1trans.gifAmanda Fuller and Justin Mog just returned from three years of Peace Corps service in Paraguay. See photos from their SEED BANK IN PARAGUAY.

President-Elect Barack Obama
Kluczynski Federal Building 230 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60604

Dear Farmer-in-Chief Obama,

Congratulations on your victory and welcome to your new home on Pennsylvania Ave. Knowing how much you love fresh vegetables, we'd like to help you tear up the lawn and plant an organic garden!


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In the tradition of Eleanor Roosevelt's Victory Garden and inspired by Michael Pollan's vision in the New York Times Magazine, we humbly suggest planting a Hope Garden on the White House Lawn. In these days of rising food prices, global climate change, and deteriorating health, the President's Hope Garden could grow as a model of sustainability for the nation and, indeed, the world. It's a model of a simple way to enhance food security while reducing our ecological footprint and improving our families' health with fresh local food.

We nominate ourselves to be the White House's "First Farmers." Here's our vision:

  • Serve fresh organic Hope Garden produce at State dinners and to the First Family, to lead by example and improve White House food "security";
  • Give tours of the Hope Garden to journalists, students, and other visitors as a means of educating the nation about healthy eating, organic techniques and the power of growing your own food;
  • Use the Hope Garden to support urban gardening initiatives in the D.C. area to show that eating local is possible for anyone anywhere;
  • Donate surplus Hope Garden produce to local food banks to feed those without gardens;
  • Produce a variety of organic heirloom fruits and vegetables all year round, using cold frames and hoop houses.

We are Peace Corps Volunteers about to return home after three years of service in Paraguay, working to improve food security & nutrition, promoting gardening, and helping Paraguayans diversify their farms sustainably. We have studied these issues at the University of Wisconsin's Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies. More than just avid organic gardeners, we also have experience in science & environmental education, research, and program management. And, perhaps most importantly, we are filled with hope and excitement about working with you!

Sincerely, Justin Mog, Ph.D. & Amanda Fuller, M.S.

cc: Dale Haney, White House Grounds Superintendent

Amanda Fuller and Justin Mog just returned from three years of service as Agriculture and Environment volunteers in the Peace Corps. They left for Paraguay in 2005 after earning graduate degrees from the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. You can reach Justin and Amanda via email.


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