News

Squirrels relish White House garden as shutdown sidelines staff

Squirrels relish White House garden as shutdown sidelines staff

GARDEN GONE WILD: The White House garden is being overrun by squirrels during the shutdown. Photo: Reuters

By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In the famous White House kitchen garden, tomatoes are rotting on the vine. Herbs have gone to seed. And the sweet potatoes – a favorite of President Barack Obama – have become worm food.

It’s another impact of the government shutdown, one that only the fox and the many squirrels that live on the White House grounds could love.

A foodie blog called Obamafoodarama that obsessively covers the White House “food ephemera” and the administration’s food policy has posted photos of the normally immaculate garden looking more like what most gardeners’ plots appear at this time of the year – overgrown.

“Due to the shutdown, garden maintenance has been reduced considerably and only being watered as needed,” a White House official confirmed, speaking on background.

First Lady Michelle Obama started the garden on the White House south lawn in 2009, the first time vegetables had been grown there since Eleanor Roosevelt’s “victory garden” during World War II.

She uses the garden as a vehicle to talk about healthy eating and reducing childhood obesity. Some of the produce is used at the White House, while much is donated to a local soup kitchen.

The foodie blog, run by editor Eddie Gehman Kohan, said White House gardeners are allowed only to water the plots and cannot harvest the vegetables. White House staff who normally volunteer to pick the weeds are off on furlough, Gehman Kohan said.

“Pounds and pounds of ripe organic bounty have gone to waste,” she wrote.

“Weeds are springing up everywhere, and the vegetables that have already fallen off the vines are now mouldering on the ground,” she said.

She posted photos from cameras near the garden beds on her blog, including one of a squirrel eating a cherry tomato.

Squirrels are like “kids in a candy store, gorging themselves” on tomatoes and peppers, Gehman Kohan said.

What's On 'KLH?

Help the Kids!

MirMar_2016_int_wp

It’s WKLH’s 19th annual Miracle Marathon – we’re LIVE again this year from Children’s Hospital on Thursday and Friday! Donate now…

Milwaukee… Live It, Love It!

Milwaukee_LiveItLoveIt_int_wp

Milwaukee truly is a great place on a great lake – with great people living it, and loving it! Listen to a few reasons why…

Hire Me MKE

HireMeMKE_620x400

Looking for a job around the Milwaukee area? Check out some opening…

Wanna Play DJ?

HEYMOM

You can host your own show Sunday night at 6 on ‘KLH!

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in Sports

Indy 500 champions choose 1992 finish as greatest race

Fresh
11-overlay-10

There have been 99 editions of the Indianapolis 500 and many great finishes.

1 hour ago in Entertainment

The TMNT are ‘Out of the Shadows’ in new film

Fresh
12-overlay-15

Turtle power is back as the fearsome foursome fights to save the city from a dangerous threat.

1 hour ago in Music

Axl Rose wants to continue as AC/DC frontman after tour

Fresh
axl47276623086

Axl, 54, was drafted in earlier this year as a replacement for the band's usual lead singer Brian Johnson.