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Culture

No garden left behind. Ronald Reagan peeled Jimmy Carter’s solar panels off the White House. George W. Bush nixed Bill Clinton’s South Lawn jogging path. But Michelle Obama has taken new steps to make sure that one of the most high-profile symbols of the Obama era—the White House Kitchen Garden, which she planted in 2009—will be a permanent fixture of the presidential estate. Yesterday, FLOTUS revealed a suite of renovations, expanding the plot from 1,700 to 2,800 square feet and adding new features, like arbors and a stone plaque, that prioritize durability and longevity. “Sawdust pathways have been widened and replaced with blue stone,” writes Politico. “The garden features a large new, stone-paved seating area and a prominent archway, cemented into the lawn.”

You never know who might need to make room for, say, a golf course.

The National Parks Service has committed to maintaining the White House garden into the future, with help from a $2.5 million private fund to help lessen the taxpayer burden. But its future remains uncertain: the next president can do whatever she (or he) wishes with the land. Though the additions certainly make the garden a little bit more of a headache to remove, Politico’s Helena Bottemiller Evich notes that the Clintons did not respond to calls to add a garden, and Donald Trump is not exactly known for his commitment to sustainable agriculture. “His penchant for fast food, from McDonald’s to KFC chicken and taco bowls, might make him less inclined in growing kale, sweet potatoes and kohlrabi in the backyard,” she writes. You never know who might need to make room for, say, a golf course. – Joe Fassler

Joe Fassler bio

Joe Fassler

Joe Fassler is New Food Economy's senior editor. His food safety and public health reporting has been a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in Journalism. Follow him @joefassler.