The First Lady welcomed students and guests from across the country to plant the White House Kitchen Garden for the eighth year in a row, and final time as First Lady. This annual springtime tradition of planting the vegetable garden began in 2009 when the First Lady first broke ground on the South Lawn. The start of this tradition initiated a national conversation around the health and well-being of our nation—a conversation that evolved into her Let’s Move! initiative.
“It was eight years ago that we cooked up this really interesting idea that maybe we could dig up some dirt on the South Lawn ... and we would plant a wonderful garden that would be a space for us to talk about the food we eat.”First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2016 White House Kitchen Garden planting
This year, students that participate in school garden programs in Wisconsin, Colorado, and Louisiana and local students from Bancroft Elementary School and Harriet Tubman Elementary School, who regularly help in the White House Kitchen Garden, joined the First Lady. Bringing the event full circle were some of the very students who participated in the first planting in 2009.
In addition, NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman and Astronaut Cady Coleman joined the First Lady to plant the same variety of lettuce that has been grown on the International Space Station.
“We’ve seen an increase in the number of folks that are planting community gardens in their neighborhoods. They’re even doing some community gardening in space, as we understand, which takes the concept to a whole other level.”First Lady Michelle Obama at the annual White House Kitchen Garden planting
Throughout the spring, the First Lady will continue her American Garden Tour to highlight the impact and benefits of diverse gardens across the country. Earlier this year, Mrs. Obama surprised students who participate in gardening programs at Watkins Elementary School and John Burroughs Elementary School in Washington, DC, along with a local family, who has made their backyard garden a community effort. In case you missed it, watch the video of the surprise visits:
Danielle Cohen is an intern in the Office of Digital Strategy