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.
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!
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.
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!
Look, I’m in it!
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.
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!