A White House garden party
Michelle Obama had a garden party yesterday afternoon. But not the tea and crumpets in white gloves sort. She was joined by the students from Bancroft Elementary School who helped her plant and tend the White House garden that got so much attention earlier this year.
At the party they returned for a feast using some of what they grew, including peas and lettuce.
"This is our reward for all that hard work," she told the children.
Obama said the garden was one of the first things she wanted to do at the White House. She noted that Congress and the president soon will be talking about health care reform and the reauthorization of child nutrition programs.
"And these are issues that I care deeply about, especially when they affect America's children," she said.
"Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure are all diet-related health issues that cost this country more than $120 billion each year," she said.
She said she hoped the children who worked in the garden had spread the word to their families about healthy eating and how good fresh fruit and vegetables taste.
Obama noted that there are more than 1 million community gardens across the country.
White House associate chef Sam Kass said the garden has produced lettuce, snap peas, beans, kale, collards and chard. He credited a large amount of rain for the garden's bounty. Kass said no chemicals had been used on the garden, but it's not certified organic. Weekly weeding was done by him, a pastry chef and some volunteers.
Kass said he has harvested 90 pounds of produce from the garden, including broccoli and green beans; the food has been used in the White House or donated.
Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama and students in the garden today. Credit: Alex Brandon / Associated Press