First Lady Michelle Obama invited students from across the country to join her today on the South Lawn for what has become a favorite tradition: planting the White House Kitchen Garden. For the fifth year in a row, Mrs. Obama and Let's Move Executive Director Sam Kass got their hands dirty as they planted the vegetables that will be harvested this summer and enjoyed by the First Family and White House guests, and donated to local charities.
This year, the First Lady was joined by students from schools that have made exceptional improvements to their school lunches through the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. At the Benjamin David Gullett Elementary School in Bradenton, Florida teachers use gardening as a learning opportunity for students, and the school’s food and nutrition program teaches students about planting, growing, and tasting vegetables to give them a better understanding of nutritious food.
And the Arthur D. Healey School in Somerville, Massachusetts -- which has had a school garden since 2004 -- now has a Farm to School program that includes food education events like “corn shucking day” when kids learn about the food they’re eating in school meals. The Sarah Moore Greene Magnet Technology Academy in Knox County, Tennessee started a Jeffersonian Heirloom Garden and connected the project to 3rd-5th grade social studies coursework on America’s history, highlighting American presidents who have had a role in gardening and land stewardship.
The Milton Elementary School in Milton, Vermont has turned lunchtime into a dining experience for students, thanks to lunches developed using MyPlate standards, salad bars, local ingredients, and delicious takes on fruits and vegetables like squash with nutmeg and cinnamon. Students from Harriet Tubman and Bancroft Elementary Schools in Washington, DC, which have been active participants in the White House Kitchen Garden since its inception, were also on hand.
This year's crop will once again include favorites like spinach, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, fennel, Swiss chard and several kinds of lettuce, as well as two kinds of wheat, a new addition for 2013.