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Local Farms Make Run for White House

Boistfort Valley Farmer: 'I Can Grow Anything Barack Obama Would Like to Have'

Date: January 30, 2009 Section: Headlines
By Dan Schreiber
for The Chronicle, Centralia, WA


Two local farms are in the running to relocate their operations to the other Washington -- namely, The White House.

"The United States has a White House chef ... and now is the time for a White House Farmer," states the Web site whitehousefarmer.com, which took 100 nominations from across the country for the public to choose through online voting.

As of Thursday, the odds were stacked against Boistfort Valley farmer Mike Peroni. To win, he needs to gather thousands of votes by midnight Saturday.

He said he has what it takes for the job.

"I can grow anything that Barack Obama would like to have," Peroni said. "We grow over 100 varieties of different types of vegetables. Beyond tropical fruit, we've dabbled in about everything out there."

Peroni relies on community-supported agriculture, a system in which individual buyers make payments for periodic pickups of fresh vegetables. He also supplies many of the co-op stores in Olympia and Chehalis. He is president of farmers markets in both cities and brought his farm back from major damage caused by the record December 2007 Chehalis River flood.

"I run a successful business based on integrity and conscientious choices," Peroni said. "At the same time, it is viable."

With 115 votes, Peroni trails the 6,700-vote leader, Carrie Anne Little, who in 1993 started the Guadalupe Gardens urban community garden project to provide food to low-income people in Tacoma. She now runs the Mother Earth Farm in Pierce County.

Also in the running is Independence Valley farmer Susan Ujcic, who operates a community-supported agriculture operation at the farm near Rochester. She had 21 votes as of Thursday. She could not be reached for comment as of press time today. There are 15 Washington state nominees, the second-most nationwide behind Wisconsin.

To Vote for the 'White House Farmer':
Go to whitehousefarmer.com and click the "vote" tab.


Copyright © 2009-2014, The Chronicle, Centralia, Washington. Reprinted with permission.

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