In Defense of Black Foodies: Michelle Obama

Black food justice activists have come under attack lately

The first lady is taking hits for her kitchen garden these days. Andrew Kimbell, Center for Food Safety executive director, argued recently that the garden has high levels of lead, due to some "nastiness issues."

From Huffington Post:

Unfortunately, something happened on the way to the realization of the First Lady's good intentions. Recently the National Park Service discovered that the White House lawn, where the garden was planted, contains highly elevated levels of lead -- 93 parts per million. It's enough lead for anyone planning to have children pick vegetables in that garden or eat produce from it to reconsider their plans: lead is highly toxic to children's developing organs and brain functions -- however, it's below the 400 ppm the EPA suggests is a threat to human health.

What caused this alarming contamination of the White House lawn? Some news outlets speculated that residue from lead paint might have caused the toxicity. However an article running on Mother Jones online has a more probable explanation. During the 1990s, the Clintons agreed to have the South Lawn of the White House "fertilized" with ComPRO, a commercially available "compost made from a nearby wastewater plant's solid effluent, a.k.a. sewage sludge."

Thanks Bill and Hill!

Then, Obama Foodorama's Eddie Gerham Kohan slammed him back with possibly not the best defense of the garden.
And Kimbell came back with the quickness.

What do I think? I think it's great that Mrs. Obama wants to teach Americans about sustainable gardening; however, she must also include dialogue on this most pressing issue on sludge fertilizer, which can be a teachable moment for all Americans about these hazards of gardening.

Will the Obama administration take on the sludge industry about this matter? Maybe Mrs. Obama will use her newly-found influence to take on Big Ag? Don't hold your breath, but for now, I want to keep an open mind about the garden.

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