MILWAUKEE (AP) – An Illinois family is sowing support for a White House farmer with a Web site allowing people to nominate and vote for their favorite growers.
The nominees range from 10 teens in Alameda, Calif., who grow food for more than 500 formerly homeless people to former pro basketball player Will Allen, an urban farmer in Milwaukee. The election ends Saturday, when organizer Terra Brockman plans to forward the names of the top three vote-getters to the White House.
More than 100 farmers from 33 states and Washington, D.C., had been nominated by Thursday afternoon, while more than 27,000 votes had been cast.
Brockman’s family launched the Web site in mid-November after reading a New York Times Magazine article in which journalist Michael Pollan called for the appointment of a White House farmer to complement the White House chef. Pollan suggested replacing five acres of the White House’s South Lawn with an organic fruit and vegetable garden.
Nominations and votes trickled in at first, but then word spread among farming and foodie groups. In the past few weeks, “it’s kind of gone crazy,” said Brockman, 50, of Congerville, Ill.
The push has been embraced by people who favor small, family-run, community-oriented, environmentally friendly farms. Most nominees are organic farmers, and many run community gardens or nonprofit farms.
The White House did not have an immediate comment on the effort. But many early presidents grew food there, including John Adams, who planted a vegetable garden shortly after moving in in 1800.
A top vote-getter in the Brockmans’ contest has been Carrie Little, manager of Mother Earth Farm in Puyallup, Wash. Run by the Emergency Food Network, the farm supplies local food banks and hot meal programs.
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