By Dina Eliash Robinson
Since urban gardens are exposed to air pollution from traffic and other city activities, growing produce in an organic environment requires expertise in soil preparation to reduce harmful contaminants.
Fortunately, Sam Kass, the White House food coordinator and assistant chef, is also the go-to guy for gardening fixes. Under his supervision, the South Lawn patch reserved for the First Lady’s garden was tested, pH-adjusted, fed juicy organic compost and treated with such strange and wondrous nutrients as lime, crab meal and green sand.
Only after the levels of lead and other toxic substances were reduced and neutralized and the soil rendered safe and fertile, were Mrs. Obama’s preferred veggies planted in what had become a hospitable environment for growing nutritious foods.
While the rest of us may not have in-house gardening gurus to help us plant a 21st century version of the Liberty Gardens that proliferated during and after World War II, there are countless sources of expert information available to everyone raring to grow their own food.
A good place to start your enquiry is the “Seeds @ City” urban farming program at San Diego City College [email protected]. Other sources include the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA’s hotline is 800/424-5323), the National Park Service and “Mother Jones” magazine and web site.
The FRC crew wishes you fine crops and abundant harvests.