There's a new agriculture agent at the West Virginia University/Kanawha County Extension Service, and he's bringing interesting and new ideas to the post.
John Porter, who recently graduated from WVU with a master's degree in horticulture, is glad he found a job that lets him be close to home. Porter had plans to go to school in Minnesota, but when the agriculture position opened, he jumped right on the opportunity.
Porter graduated from Wayne County High and earned a bachelor's degree from Marshall University before attending WVU. He told me one of the projects that he's interested in is the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia, a program designed to link farmers and consumers.
"One of my focuses is going to be encouraging the consumption of locally produced foods," Porter said. "I'm talking with Dr. Alan Arnold [director of the 21st Century program] to get involved with that program here in Charleston." For information about this group, visit www.wvfarm2u.org.
One of the new agent's duties is to work with the Kanawha County Master Gardeners, and he was excited to get started with the newest class that will begin the first week of March. He also looks forward to working with the Master Gardeners on their international convention, which will be held in Charleston.
Porter has worked with 4-H volunteers as an AmeriCorps/Vista worker doing volunteer development and fundraising. He described himself as a lifelong 4-H'er, and he's looking forward to teaching classes and working with the 4-H program in the agriculture realm in Kanawha County.
White House Victory Garden?
There is a growing campaign to persuade our new president, Barack Obama, to plant a vegetable garden on the White House grounds. Several past presidents had them. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt started a Victory Garden on the White House lawn in 1943. Her efforts encouraged millions of Americans to follow in her footsteps. By the time World War II ended, home gardeners were producing about 40 percent of the fruits and vegetables being consumed in the United States.
"Eat the View!" is a campaign to urge the Obamas to replant a large organic Victory Garden on the White House lawn with the produce going to the White House kitchen and to local food pantries. "Eat the View!" is coordinated by Kitchen Gardeners International, a Maine-based nonprofit network of 10,000 gardeners from 100 countries who are inspiring and teaching more people to grow some of their own food.
Since its launch in February 2008, "Eat the View!" has been featured in more than 450 newspapers including The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
The Web site www.eattheview.org features videos such as "The Garden of Eatin'" and "This Lawn is Your Lawn." The site quotes the new president - "What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility" - and features a picture of him digging a hole in the front lawn of the White House.
"Eat the View!" says, "Responsibility begins at home. Please join us in asking the Obamas to replant a Victory Garden on the First Lawn within their first 100 days in office. The White House is America's House and should serve as a model at a time of crisis."
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.