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Michelle Obama tries to sell school class on veggies

November 22, 2010 |  3:24 pm

Democrat first lady Michelle Obama talks up Salad Bars with Miami schoolchildren 11-22-10

First Lady Michelle Obama's remarks at a salad bar event, Miami's Riverside Elementary School, as provided by the White House

MRS. OBAMA:  Hello!  How are you guys doing?

STUDENTS:  Good!

MRS. OBAMA:  Pretty exciting, isn’t it?

STUDENTS:  Yes!

MRS. OBAMA:  I am thrilled. I want to first thank Penny for that very kind introduction, and especially for all your hard work to make sure that we have healthy schools everywhere here in Miami Dade County. So let’s give Penny a round of applause. (Applause.) And we have to thank your Principal, right?

STUDENTS:  Yes!

MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you so much, Principal, for inviting us here to Riverside Elementary School. (Applause.) I want to thank all of you for letting me come to your school today. Thank you.

STUDENTS: You’re welcome.

MRS. OBAMA:  Are you supposed to be in class or something?  (Laughter.) No?  Okay, all right, you're good. Well, you guys are doing some pretty exciting things. On my way here I got....

... to walk past the garden that -- I think the first graders are working on the garden.  Is that right?  Or is everybody working on the garden?

STUDENTS:  Everybody.

MRS. OBAMA:  It is pretty cool, because you guys are showing that without a stitch of land you can plant a garden because you’ve done it in cement boxes.  And that's important for the whole country to know, that you don't have to have a big field to plant vegetables -- because you guys have a lot going on in that garden.  You’ve got tomatoes.  I saw some eggplants.  I saw some kale -- right?  Pretty amazing.  It just shows that if you really want to make something happen your really can.

And that's one of the reasons why we're here, because you guys are doing some really innovative stuff when it comes to health and healthy eating. 

And I know that you all have been told that vegetables aren't just fun to plant and watch grow. They’re critical for your health.  So you got to eat these things, too, right? 

STUDENTS:  Yes!

MRS. OBAMA:  Right?  (Laughter.)  They’ll give you energy not just in here, but they give you brain power. Did you realize that? 
Lettuce
STUDENTS:  Yes!

MRS. OBAMA:  There are studies that show that kids who are eating their fruits and vegetables on a regular basis actually do better in school.  Did you all know that?  So that's one of the reasons why all of this is important and why we need to make vegetables interesting to you guys -- right?  

We have here this beautiful salad bar, because what we've also found is that if you take vegetables and you organize them in a pretty, delicious way, kids like you may actually eat them more -- because it looks kind of cool, doesn’t it? 

STUDENTS:  Yes!

MRS. OBAMA:  How many guys here have ever had a salad from a salad bar?  Let me see some hands.  So you guys are used to salad bars.  Tell me some of the things you like from the salad bar.  Let me see -- somebody, what do you like?

STUDENT:  Cucumbers.

MRS. OBAMA:  Cucumbers.  We’ve got some cucumbers.  Yes, sweetie?

STUDENT:  Some lettuce.

MRS. OBAMA:  Some lettuce.  And you?

STUDENT:  Carrots.

MRS. OBAMA:  Carrots.  So lots of things, right?  And when they’re set up all pretty and nice like this you might want to try some and maybe try some things you’ve never had before, right? 

So we are lucky to have some folks here, the people who are standing with me, who understand how important salad bars are to your health.  And they’re doing something really special.  And we're launching it here today. That’s why we're kind of excited.  The folks standing here understand that we've got to get more salad bars into our schools. And they’ve committed to working to make sure that more public schools all across the country get salad bars. 

We have with us representatives from the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, from the Food, Family, Farming Foundation, and from the United Fresh Produce Association. And together this team of wonderful people have put together something called Let’s Move Salad Bars To Schools. You hear that? Let’s Move Salad Bars To Schools. Pretty good, right?
Carrots
STUDENTS:  Yes!

MRS. OBAMA:  And what the goal is that they’re going to give 6,000 schools salad bars like these -- 6,000 of them. And you guys here at Riverside are the first school in the entire country to get one!  (Applause.) Yes! They’re plenty excited.  See, kids excited about vegetables and salad bars. (Laughter.) I want the world to know. We can do this.  

  So what they’re doing through this partnership is that they’re providing schools with all of the equipment.  Because it takes a lot to make one of these things, right?  You got to have the trays and the tools, the utensils, the thermometers -- all the things you need to make sure that the salad stuff is safe and healthy.  And then it’s going to be up to the schools themselves to fill it with vegetables and fruits. 

  And that's one of the reasons why your school is one of the first, because you’ve got that wonderful garden out there.  And once you start harvesting from that garden you can take that, put it in your salad bar, and have it for your lunches and for all your snacks.

So that's one of the reasons why we chose to come here first, because you started out with good stuff by planting your own garden.  Not every school is going to have their own garden, but they can still find vegetables and fruits and stock their salad bars.

Because one of the things we know is that this kind of stuff is really expensive, and not every school has the money that it takes to bring the salad bar in, even if they want to make it happen.  So that's why this team of folks is so important, because they pulled together all these resources to make this happen. 

some silly person not eating healthy as the first lady suggests And I want to make sure that other schools out there around the country that are watching know that if they want to get involved and if they’re interested in getting their school a part of this initiative, they just have to apply  -- go on the Web to www.saladbars2schools.org.

So I want to encourage schools out there who want to get this kind of resource, to make it happen.  

So I want to thank all of you for making this possible, for coming together today -- because we've got a pretty exciting launch school here, don't we?  And we're so very proud of you.  So let’s give them a round of applause.  Thank you guys so much.  (Applause.)

And the reason why we're doing this is that these folks here and we consider you guys a part of a bigger effort that we call “Let’s Move!” 

That's something that we started out of the First Lady’s office in the White House.  And our goal for this campaign is to eliminate childhood obesity, to make sure that kids are eating healthy and getting the kind of exercise they need to be healthy and fit, and to be the leaders that we need you all to be in the years to come.

And this initiative isn’t just about getting vegetables in schools.  We've enlisted the help of everyone  -– mayors and governors and pediatricians and teachers and parents.  But more importantly, we're asking you guys for your help, because if you're going to change your habits you’ve got to be ready to try some new stuff -- right? 

And part of trying some new stuff is trying some vegetables you might not normally eat.  But it also means we want you moving, too.  Physical activity is critical.  So we need you guys go turn off the TV, and start moving.  We need you to put down the chips and pick up a carrot.  Change how you think about snacking.  Drink more water.  That's on you. 

Because what we're learning -- I was just in Newark and New York.  And what the kids there are saying is that because they’re developing better habits they’re helping their families develop better habits.  So what you guys are going to learn you're going to take back home and you're going to help your brothers and your sisters, your moms, dads, grandparents lead healthier lives. Are you guys with me on this?

STUDENTS:  Yes!

MRS. OBAMA:  Are we excited about this?

STUDENTS:  Yes!

MRS. OBAMA:  I think we are. So the next step in today’s effort is that we've got some of our chefs here who are going to help us make some salads. (Applause.)

But there’s one last thing I want to make sure everybody knows, is that we also need Congress to do their part.  And one of the things that we hope will get passed soon is the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill.  And that's going to provide money and resources to more schools so that we can improve nutrition, get better food into school lunchrooms, that we get more nutrition education into the classrooms, that we get more physical education.

So we hope that Congress will do their part.  And we're excited about the progress that we've made just all on our own.  And that's because of you guys -- okay?

So, thank you. You guys are leading the way by doing this -- by planting your garden, by stepping up, you guys are leaders in this. And you should be very, very proud of yourselves -- because we are proud of you.  But it’s only the beginning.

So now we're going to call in some of our chefs.  We've got Michael Schwartz and Michelle Bernstein who are here.  (Applause.)  And these two chefs, you guys -- because chefs are also a part of this initiative.  We have thousands of chefs all throughout the country just like Michael and Michelle who have volunteered to come into schools and help you guys learn how to prepare not just healthy foods but healthy foods that taste good. And they are two chefs of many who are working in schools all over the country.

So I'm going to stop talking and turn it over to Michael and Michelle, who will show us the steps of putting together a delicious and tasty salad. So take it away. Take it away. (Applause.)     ####

Related Item:

Michelle Obama's plan to reform the nation's restaurant menus

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Photos: Hans Deryk / Reuters; Associated Producers (veggies); Associated Press (someone not eating healthy as the first lady recommends).

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