First lady Michelle Obama planted lettuce and other vegetables on a sunny Tuesday afternoon when temperatures in the mid-40s and high winds had most Washingtonians bundled back in their winter coats after a week of spring-like temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
Obama had help from children from Wisconsin, Colorado, Louisiana and the District. An astronaut and and officials from NASA also joined Obama on the South Lawn.
“It’s been really a fun tradition for us here at the White House, because I think we’ve really been able to change the conversation about what you guys eat,” she said.
Fruits and vegetables from the garden are used for meals at the White House for the first family and guests. About 500 pounds of produce from the garden has been given to Miriam’s Kitchen to feed homeless people.
Since 2009, Obama has planted and harvested the garden with the help of children as a part of her Let’s Move! campaign. As part of this year’s final garden, Obama invited back students who helped her plant that first garden. Fifth-graders then, they are now in high school.
“Because our thought was that if you know where your food comes from, you might be a little more interested in eating you vegetables if you know what they look like,” she told the children.
The first lady will leave Thursday for a series of surprise community garden visits across the country, something she did locally in March. She said she hopes to continue to raise awareness of the benefits of healthier lifestyles for kids.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of folks that are planting community garden in their neighborhoods,” she said. “They’re even doing some community gardening in space, as we understand, which takes the concept to a whole other level.”
Obama was the first to plant a vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden in 1943. Obama said the garden is her “baby.”
“Hopefully, there will be other administrations who come in and they take up this project and continue to make this a part of the White House tradition,” she said.
Reach reporter Tia Rinehart at tia.Rinehart@scripps.com or 202-408-1490. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Download photos: Kitchen-Garden.zip