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Obama kitchen garden NOT organic

First Lady Michelle Obama and 36 fifth grade

First Lady Michelle Obama and 36 fifth grade students harvest vegetables in the White House Kitchen Garden last June. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Here's a disillusioning eye-opener:  The White House kitchen garden has been called organic, but it  really isn't.

Though the staff only uses natural fertilizers and pesticides, and only organic seeds were planted, White House chef Sam Kass, who oversees the whole garden operation, says the garden was never intended to be organic. "This is not about getting into all that, he told an Associated Press reporter. "This is about kids. They've never seen what broccoli looks like or where peas come from," he said. "What's really powerful about this garden is it shows kids where food comes from," he says.

Well, I agree with the latter part of that quote, but I've never met a kid -- even one who refuses to eat it -- who doesn't know what broccoli looks like, but that's besides the point.

All along, news reports have called the garden organic.  Though I don't believe I ever made that leap, I'm aware that was, in fact, the general assumption.

Of couse, when one considers the garden is on the South Lawn, which very likely has been treated with herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers over the years to achieve that presidential quality, it didn't seem feasible the space could suddenly be crowned organic. To earn that designation, the soil would have to not have been exposed to nonorganic fertilzers and pesticides for a minimum of three years.

Michelle Obama works with fifth graders in the White House kitchen garden in June 2009. (Getty Images File Photo)

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