Capital Living

Weeds, wildlife taking over WH garden

Michelle Obama’s White House garden has become a weedy, overgrown mess because of the government shutdown.

Gardeners are not allowed to harvest the crops, and vegetables are rotting on the vine, according to Obama Foodorama, a popular White House food blog. Weeds are taking over, and leaves from the falling trees are littering the garden, which sits on 1,500 square feet in the lower part of the south lawn.

The blog reports local wildlife, including a fox and squirrels, are having a field day eating the unpicked produce.

An aide to the first lady’s office said maintenance of the garden has been “reduced considerably” due to the shutdown, though it is being watered “as needed.”

{mosads}The first lady’s kitchen garden, which she invites school children to help her plant and harvest, has more than 30 kinds of vegetables, including pumpkins for Halloween.

It is maintained by the National Park Service, which has been reduced to a skeleton crew that has been doing “minimal maintenance” on the White House grounds since the shutdown began Oct. 1.

Obama started the garden in 2009 as part of her anti-obesity Let’s Move campaign. Let’s Move Executive Director Sam Kass, who also cooks for the Obamas, usually oversees the garden. He is on furlough during the shutdown, which is entering day 14.

Produce from the garden feeds the first family and has also been used for state dinners and official events. Some produce is also donated to local food kitchens.

— This story was updated at 4:48 p.m.

Tags Michelle Obama

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