A Visit to the White House Garden – Full Tour of Veggies, Bees and More!

When you get a email invite to a private event that Michelle Obama and the White House are hosting for Let’s Move, you accept it.  Well your heart skips a beat, you accept it and then you try to figure out what shoes you’re going to wear.  It goes in order like that.  That’s what happened last week.  

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Last week, I made the trip to Washington DC to attend a event to have a conversation on the health of our nation’s children.   Let’s Move (started by Michelle Obama in 2010) is a group initiative to encourage healthier food in schools, better food labeling and more physical activity for children.  Gardening goes hand in hand with this initiative as it’s important to grow your own.  Growing your own vegetables promotes healthy eating, but it also informs you where your food comes from and the process of plant life.  If more families were to start their own gardens, they would eat fresh vegetables more often, along with creating family activities to build/maintain and to learn about gardening.    I’d say I was one of the few non parents at the event, but I don’t think you need to be a parent to understand why eating healthy matters and to encourage it.  Since we started the garden on the roof years ago my own eating habits have greatly improved.  I love vegetables now.  Sometimes for dinner I just have vegetables, years ago that would have never happened.  With the experience of growing the garden I learned so much about nature and the planting process.  If you haven’t planted a little itty bitty seed and watched it grow into a full on broccoli plant, you haven’t lived.   Even at 32 years old, I’m still excited and amazed when I see a few ounces worth of seeds can turn into hundreds of pounds of vegetables.  Before having the garden I didn’t even know where so many vegetables came from.  I know it was a plant, but I didn’t know what the plant looked like, how long it took to grew, growing conditions and more.  Growing your own makes you respect vegetables a whole lot more.  Can I get some respect for vegetables? Amen.    And lastly, because of these vegetables I learned how to cook.  I almost think it should be a required class in schools now to learn how to cook.   If we all cooked at home, think of the impact it would have on obesity, overall health and factory farming.   If you follow this blog then you probably already know the joy and satisfaction one gets when presenting a meal to their family that is home cooked.  I wish everyone could experience this!

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After the talk (it took place in a fancy ballroom) and a tour of the White House (more fancy rooms),  I finally got to see what I was really there for: The White House Garden!  The White House garden was started by the Obamas 7 years ago.  There it is.  A vegetable garden, not fancy at all, situated in front (to the left) of the White House on the South Lawn.  The garden supplies food to the White House Kitchen (by the way, Cristeta Comerford is the executive White House chef who’s the first female to ever hold this position) who makes dinners, both family and state affairs.  

Kale from the garden!
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Because the White House is so ornate, with marble and original Presidential paintings hanging everywhere, I thought the garden was going to be just like that.  I figured it would be well manicured, with ornamental boxes and decorations, stuffy and ready for a photo op.   What I was pleasantly surprised by was how real the garden looked.  It looks like it could be in my Dad’s back yard.   It had leaves on the path, vegetables that needed to be picked because they were flowering, and duct tape and clamps holding together cold frames.   I just had to smile.   I’m in the White House Garden everyone and I feel comfortable (or as much as one can feel when Secret Service is nearby).

Welcome to the White House Garden!

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Look, I’m in it!

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And now, lots of pictures for to you look at! This was in middle of March so it looks like they recently removed their cold frames and they’re at the end of their Winter harvest.  Seeds for Spring will be planted in early April.

Also, I might have sneaked a little bite out of a vegetable while walking around.  It was the garden rebellion in me.

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(raspberries)

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And because I had to show it…. duct tape and clamps!
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I was super surprised to see The White House has a beehive too!  These little guys help pollinate the garden, as well as provide honey.
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I hope you liked my trip to the White House!  Thanks to everyone (Let’s Move, She Knows, Blogher)  for putting this together, it was lots of fun!

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(it was green for St Patrick’s day, not because it’s dirty!)

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20 Comments

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  • I love to sometimes just have veggies. Or veggies with brown rice. That’ll be dinner for me: broiled Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, onions over rice. Great, now I’m hungry. (Being in that garden made me wish there was a kitchen right there so I could pull up and sautee some cabbage. It was SO green!)

  • What a great post! We didn’t meet at the White House but I was there too (part of the SheKnows group). I have loved looking around your blog and learning more about you. I love artists (my husband is a professional actor–and I acted too until I had kids). I love how much you love animals-we have a miniature poodle and we use a dog voice and make up his thoughts. haha! Nice to virtually meet you–and I hope to see you at a blogging event in the near future.

  • Wow, what a fun post! Congrats! And thanks for all the pictures — the White House garden looks wonderful. I’m with you on eating veggies — they’re usually the star of our dinner. It’s gotten to the point where my veggie dishes taste MUCH better than my protein dishes. Anyway, loved this — thanks.

  • A real honor Pamela, how great that you not only got to tour the white house but their garden which I have read about but have never seen. Great pics, loved the post. Greagt job!!

  • Thanks for taking me along for the White House garden tours, I was wondering what it looked like and what were planted, seems quite large. Did you find out who takes care of the maintenance and harvesting? Love your hairdo.

  • Oh Pamela, how utterly exciting for you and yes the White House too. I’m sure you were the perfect guest:)

    I totally agree, I believe each and every person should at least nurture one seed at least once in their life whether it be in a garden, a window sill, or even the bathroom, lol…at least once!!! As a matter of fact, when my daughter frantically called me about filling my grandkids Easter baskets, I suggested she buy them seeds and gardening implements. I can’t wait to hear the results, lol…

    The White House garden sounds as a garden should, a work in progress ever changing and yes, growing:) I’m thrilled that you took so many amazing pictures and let us tag-a-long. (I would have “stole” a bite too:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Pamela…from the looks of it, you chose the perfect shoes, lol…and, you are adorable too:)

  • Oh wow!! What a wonderful experience! I’m so glad you were invited, not least because then I can live vicariously through your experience šŸ˜‰ I’m so impressed with how beautiful and normal the garden is! Thank you for the tour šŸ™‚

  • Wowza lady, what an epic post! Go you good thing! šŸ™‚ So rad I get to see the White House gardens, kinda nothing like what I thought. Iā€™m trying to get more veggies into my diet, for some reason change of season throws a spanner in the eating works. Anyways, I freakin loved this post. You are way cool! šŸ™‚

  • I really really like your trip to White House. It’s a wonderful experience for you. Your photos are beautiful. I wish I could have a trip like you. Thanks for your post

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