- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

First lady Michelle Obama’s edible garden is turning into a weed garden, and that which isn’t turning as brown as her thumb is being eaten by animals — of the four-legged nature.

The Kitchen Garden is a victim of the shutdown (just like the schoolchildren I wrote about Monday).

The news comes from obamafoodorama.blogspot.com, which says “pounds and pounds of ripe organic bounty have gone to waste.”

“The vegetables filling the 1,500-square-foot plot are now rotting away on the vines and in the boxed beds, thanks to the mandate for ‘minimal maintenance,’ placed on the skeletal crew of National Park Service gardeners who remain on duty at 1600 Penn,” obamafoodorama said.

As for nourishment, about all the garden has been getting since the shutdown is lots of water from staff, and whatever sun and rain the good Lord has been offering.

Trash is removed but no weeding or harvesting.

During the shutdown, “gardeners are not allowed to harvest the crops,” “weeds are springing up everywhere, and the vegetables that have already fallen off the vines are now mouldering on the ground.”

That is, if they are not being gobbled by squirrels and other creatures.

Of course, that is not for whom the food was intended.

The White House Kitchen Garden was intended as a health, education and welfare tool for animals of the two-legged variety.

Children would learn the meaning of sowing and reaping, as well as cooking and eating more nutritious foods.

Food banks would benefit from a White House-grown bounty, and guests at state dinners would savor dishes tended to and made at the hands of staff at White House.

Because October is a big harvest month, the White House already has chosen D.C.-based Miriam’s Kitchen, which feeds the homeless and the hungry, to reap from what remains of the seasonal crop.

Right now, with the brown, rotting produce providing a wildlife buffet, it’s anyone’s guess how large that bounty will be.

Meanwhile, while the shutdown forced groundskeepers to leave the garden be, groundskeepers themselves decided to give up on the fox that roams the grounds.

“Thanks to the shutdown, groundskeepers have given up on their efforts to catch the elusive creature, who showed up to live inside the White House gates [a few] weeks ago,” obamafoodorama said, adding that the fox “has been spotted many times at dawn and dusk.”

Let’s move on: The Kitchen Garden is part of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, an ambitious effort begun a few years back to push Americans toward fitter instead of fatter.

Indeed, while the term “coach potato” may be passe, the fact remains that schools are bullying our children into passive-aggressive weenies.

No dodge ball. Someone might get physically hurt.

No gym or physical education. Someone might be ashamed of their gender or body type.

No tag. Someone might get, well, tagged.

No kickball. Someone might have the kicking acumen of an overcooked string bean.

“Experts” in Britain meanwhile, are telling doctors not to use the term “obese,” as young people’s self-esteem might be deflated.

Really, people.

The stereotype of the young pudgy boy or girl gorging themselves and feeling sorry for themselves is what we’re facing — what we’re sowing, as it were.

There are a lot of things which leave me shaking my head at the White House — regardless of the name of the first family.

But Mrs. Obama has made a cogent point for the need for Let’s Move!

If you want to know the statistics of fat, overweight, obese young people (or hyperbole, to some of you), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WebMD provide page after page after page.

Otherwise, buck up, give the children their balls back, and please, let’s move on.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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