Young and Hungry

White House Farmers Market Draws Criticism Before Its Opening

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The traffic is outrageous on Vermont Ave. during rush hour!

No one needs to tell you, least of all Y&H, that in this blog-eat-blog, 24-hour news-cycle world everyone is required to have an opinion. But, really, shouldn't everyone wait until the object under criticism has actually opened?

I'm speaking about the new FreshFarm Market by the White House, which the busy non-profit opens today with guest appearances from First Lady Michelle Obama, Mayor Adrian Fenty, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  Last month, Mother Jones was first out of the block in predicting dark things about the market:

[I]f this idea becomes reality, the Obamas should be careful to make it a sustainable market for local farmers rather than a kitschy tourist attraction bogged down by pins and t-shirts that say "Yes We Can Farm" and "Change We Can Grow In." But let's face it, due to the massive security detail the market would require and the overwhelming draw for Washingtonians and tourists alike, the latter is more likely.

(Just for the record, Capital Spice has an excellent run-down of the vendors, none of which appear to be hawking pins and t-shirts.)

WTOP continued the early hand-wringing with a story about potential rush-hour traffic snarls:

Word has been circulating through local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in D.C. and has some on edge.

"I take this road every day, and imagine this will worsen gridlock since 15th Street just north of this block is a major northbound artery out of town," writes a concerned resident to WTOP. "There are so many roads already closed for security, it will only make the H street corridor even worse."

WTOP followed that story with another worrying piece today. But leave it to Obama Foodorama, the take-no-statement-on-its-face blog, to put those traffic fears to rest. The picture above comes from ObFo, which snapped it at 4:55 p.m. yesterday, presumably a rush-hour period.

ObFo also smacks down a lot of the media frenzy over who exactly conceived the idea for the White House market and whether the First Lady had a hand in it. Frankly, Y&H thinks this last issue is a tempest in a teapot. If the White House did have a hand in the market's creation, perhaps even helping to push it along, then good on the Obamas. It's an abuse of presidential power that I can live with.

Photo via Obama Foodorama

  • Ron

    I drive that stretch of Vermont Avenue regularly during morning rush hour, and it is never congested. I just assumed this is why they chose that block for the market.

  • Wrong

    The issue isn't a closed Vermont Ave. It is the 1-2 lane blockages on both H and I streets at each end of the block. I travel on H every morning coming in and on I every evening going out.

    Last night there was a significant backup on I as a result of the blockage (they had huge dump trucks and a fire engine blocking each end of Vermont Ave. presumably to prevent a car-borne bomb.

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