WASHINGTON – The lawn at the White House was in full bloom,except for a small patch in the back. This was reserved for the first lady’s kitchen garden.
First lady Michelle Obama planted her first kitchen garden on the South Lawn of the White House in 2009. She used it to initiate conversations about the nation’s health and well-being.
Obama planted her sixth White House kitchen garden Wednesday. She was joined by founders and service members of the FoodCorps on the South Lawn.
“We are going to plant a pollinator garden. A pollinator garden helps to encourage production of bees and monarch butterflies. They pollinate the plants and help the plants grow,” Obama said.
Twenty-five children from five schools helped plant the garden and shouted answers when Obama asked them questions about gardening and the mysterious disappearance of bee colonies.
“But that could be a problem for the planet because if you don’t have insects and great pollinators to pollinate the plants,it could affect our food source,it could affect our ability to continue to grow things. And that would be a problem. So this garden is going to help to contribute to improving that problem,” she said.
The sun shone brightly over the south lawn as the first lady came out – a stark difference from last week’s wintry weather. She greeted the children,who were cheering for her. Tables with snacks on red and white checkered cloth were laid out on the lawn.
Several beds set off with garden timbers were created for the children to work with. Together they planted rhubarb,onions,lettuce and radishes.
FoodCorps is part of the AmeriCorps Service Network. This nationwide program is dedicated to teaching children about healthy food,how it grows and where it comes from. The organization also ensures that children have access to these foods every day.
Serving under the direction of state and community partners,FoodCorps members across the country dedicate a year of public service to help children grow up in healthy school food environments.
Acknowledging the work of the organization,Obama said they were helping to spread knowledge about why eating fresh fruits and vegetables is important.
FoodCorps plans to work at three D.C. schools next fall: Cleveland Elementary School,Friendship Public Charter School and Kimball Elementary School. Students from these schools attended the garden planting. Children who have participated in the White House garden for several years – from Bancroft Elementary School and Harriet Tubman Elementary School – also joined the first lady.
Food harvested from the White House kitchen garden is used almost every day in the first family’s meals,Obama said. It was also used at the recent state dinner for the French president,when the chefs used radishes,baby carrots and merlot lettuce to create a winter garden salad.
Obama,who is concerned about food and health issues for children,launched the Lets Move! initiative in 2010,and the garden has become part of the campaign.
Obama and the members of the FoodCorps taught the children to plant seeds and water them. She chatted with the children,who were actively working with her.
Reach reporter Kritika Gadhvi at [email protected] or 202-326-9868. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.