Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Students from around the country joined First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday to help plant vegetables in the White House garden.

This year marks the fourth year that the first lady has invited students to partake in the planting, many who wrote about their own gardens at their schools.

Added to this year's garden will be the plain, white potato.  The potato will join the sweet potato in this year's crop of healthy food items.

The first lady maintains that any family can start their own garden.  White House chef, Sam Cass, who shared that spinach would be on the menu for dinner last evening, said to reporters, "This is doable by any family, be it in a window sill, back porch, backyard or community garden."

"This doesn't take that much to have a huge impact on a kid.  A kid could see one seed sprout and taste one plant and have a real life changing experience."

Nahmira Hishnnil, a seventh grader from Stetser Elementary School in Chester, PA was overjoyed.  It was her very first visit to Washington, DC, a visit she described as "Amazing". 
"It was a whole lot of emotions. It was great", she explained after helping the first lady plant lettuce and onions.
Rhubarb, just one of many items in the White House garden.  Photo/CD Brown.
Click here for more photos.
Said First Lady Obama on how growing the garden has affected her daughters Sasha and Malia, "And a lot of times when you grow your own vegetables and fruits, they taste really good. They taste better than a lot of stuff you’ll get in a grocery store, trust me. My kids have done it. They’re not big fans of all vegetables, but if they help to work on it they’re much more excited about trying it out."

Principal Harry Hughes of DC's Harriet Tubman Elementary School raved about his student's vegetable garden. 

Started over two years ago, he says their garden "can rival any garden", even the White House garden.

Interested in starting your own vegetable garden?

The first lady has a cook book called American Grown: How the White House Kitchen Garden Inspires Families, Schools, and Communities that may help you.  The book will hit bookstores on April 10th.

First Lady Michelle Obama is the first, first lady to have a white house garden since the days of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Fruits and vegetables from the Obama White House garden have been served at State Dinners, White House luncheons, and have been given as gifts from the Obama family.

The first lady's garden and healthy eating initiatives are part of her Let's Move! program that promotes healthy eating and exercise.



White House garden photos.

Students around the country help First Lady Obama. 

· Harriet Tubman and Bancroft Elementary Schools – Washington, DC. These two schools have been active participants in the planting and harvesting of the White House Kitchen Garden. Mrs. Obama has invited students from these schools – who have their own gardens – to work and learn in the White House Kitchen Garden. Students from Bancroft joined Mrs. Obama for the very first planting and have worked with her in the garden every year since that time. Mrs. Obama also has visited Bancroft Elementary to help with their garden. Additionally White House Chefs Cris Comerford, Sam Kass and Bill Yosses have adopted Tubman Elementary through the Chefs Move to Schools program and have worked with students and teachers on healthy eating.

· Stetser Elementary School – Chester, PA. Sixth graders from Stetser Elementary School wrote to the First Lady about planting a butterfly garden at the school and their plans to add a vegetable garden. The principal of the school wrote that the garden would “make connections for our students around growing and tasting fresh fruits and vegetables. Our goal will be to connect our garden with our local community and incorporate the produce we grow into our school lunch program.”

· Sumner Elementary School – Greensboro, NC. A third grade class from Sumner Elementary School wrote to Mrs. Obama about planting their own garden and asked Mrs. Obama for advice on what kinds of fruits and vegetables to include. They wrote “Thank you for encouraging America to eat better and live healthier. We hope that people continue to eat healthier. Because of your actions, our school is planning on starting a garden.”

·        Girl Scouts of Western New York, Troop 60325 – Fairport, NY. This troop wrote a letter to Mrs. Obama about healthy eating and getting active. They also told Mrs. Obama that they were growing 100 tomato plants to give to people without access to fresh, healthy food. One scout wrote, “We are also going to plant seeds, and we were wondering if you could come and help us.”

·        Mitchell Elementary School – Ames, IA. Second graders from this school wrote to the First Lady that they were studying “how to keep our bodies healthy.” They told her about PE class, recess and their effort to start a community garden. Each grade at the school has their own raised bed plot, and members of the community can also plant and harvest in the garden. The second graders planted lettuce, spinach, carrots, turnips, radishes, parsnips, watermelon, pumpkins, potatoes, onions and carrots. The letter wrote, “Our teachers let us taste test the food we harvest and we have even had a salad for snack and watermelon from our garden at lunch.”

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