What better way to wrap-up our celebration of Black History Month and kick-off Women’s History Month, than with a profile of one of my favorite ladies, First Lady Michelle Obama and her White House Kitchen Garden.
The Obama’s were not the first presidential family to cultivate a vegetable garden at the White House. The first White House garden was planted by President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams in 1800 who grew fruits and vegetables to feed their family. Thomas Jefferson redesigned the garden once he became president in 1801 and John Quincy Adams planted herbs, vegetables and fruit trees for his family in 1825. During World War II, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt planted a victory garden on the White House lawn which was meant to inspire our nation to grow vegetables at home during a time of food scarcity. In March 2009, Michelle Obama broke ground on the South Lawn for what would become the first White House vegetable garden since the Roosevelt administration.
Even before President Obama was elected to his first term in office, Michelle was thinking about a White House garden while on the campaign trail. As food production in this country gets scarier (think GMO, food additives, preservatives) and prices rise, it’s becoming more important for our health, the health of our children and for future generations, to know where our food comes from and to be empowered to grow our own food. The vegetables, fruits and herbs grown in the kitchen garden are used in the White House kitchens for the First family as well as for special events and White House dinners. They also make donations of food to the local soup kitchens.
Michelle Obama Inside the White House: Kitchen Garden
In May 2012, Michelle introduced us to her White House gardening team with the publication of her book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. This title is available through interlibrary loan in both the URSUS and Mainecat catalogs.
To learn more about food and food policy at the White House, visit OBAMA FOODORAMA which is the blog of record regarding food initiatives and policy at the White House.
You can also visit Let’s Move, which is an initiative launched by Michelle Obama to help deal with the problem of childhood obesity in America. This site is full of excellent resources such as healthy recipes, sample menu plans, gardening guides, ideas for physical activity and so much more.