First Lady Michelle Obama Plants the White House Kitchen Garden


Mrs. Obama: Hi! (applause) How are you
guys doing? Are you staying warm? Students: Yes! Mrs. Obama: That’s good. You’ve got hats on
and everything. You guys must not
be from Wisconsin. (laughter) We’ve got some visitors
with us today, don’t we? Okay. Let me make sure who
everybody is who’s here today. We’ve got students from the
Washburn Elementary School in Washburn, Wisconsin. (applause) Woo hoo, yay! Is it cold to you
guys today? Student: A bit. (laughter) Mrs. Obama: A bit. That’s how the
Wisconsin folks feel. We’ve got Arthur Ashe
Charter School from New Orleans, Louisiana! That’s you guys, right? (applause) Welcome! We’ve got Kemper
Elementary School from Cortez, Colorado. (applause) It’s not cold to
you guys, is it? And then we have our regular
students from Bancroft Elementary School
from right here in Washington, D.C., and from
Tubman Elementary School as well, from right here in
our own backyard. (applause) Tubman and Bancroft
have been helping me plant the White House
Kitchen Garden for just about eight years. So this is a very
special planting. Do you guys have any idea
why it’s so special for me in particular? Why? Well, this will be the last
White House Kitchen Garden planting for me in
this administration. 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, let them do
that — maybe somebody would let us do that, and we would
plant a wonderful garden that would be a space
for us to talk about the food we eat. And it was always the idea
that we would have kids very involved in
everything that we do. So young people from Tubman
and Bancroft and schools from around the country,
they come every planting and every harvest, and they help
us put our vegetables in and take them out in the fall. And it’s been really a fun
tradition for us here at the White House, because I think
we’ve really been able to change the conversation
about what you guys eat. Because our thought was that
if you know where your food comes from, you might be a
little more interested in eating your vegetables
if you know what they look like. But the garden has become
so much more than that. It’s a place where our staff
comes to volunteer. People from around the White
House come, they help out. We’ve produced thousands of
pounds of food every year that we give to homeless
shelters in the area. We’ve gotten
organizations involved. This year, we have
folks from NASA here. Where are our NASA people? (applause) We got the space
people here! (laughter) Because, in addition to
being a really important resource for us, the White
House Kitchen Garden has really begun a conversation
around the country about community gardens. And 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. So the folks from NASA are
going to help us plant. But we understand that there
is some gardening going on up in the space
station right now, and we may be doing —
some sister planting going on here. So we’re very excited
to have you all here. Thank you for the
work that you do. Thank you for
being here. And in honor of
the last planting, we’re going to be
talking about community gardens all
over the country. We’re going to talk
about this growth in — community garden, and I’m going
to be doing some surprise visits to community gardens
around the nation. On Thursday, we’re setting
out to do some surprise visits in a couple of states
in our country. We did a few surprise visits
here just a few weeks ago, surprised a couple of
schools that have some phenomenal school
gardens, as well as some community farmers. So we’re going to be doing
that just to continue to raise awareness, to talk
about our successes, and to hopefully create
healthier food and healthier lives
for these kids. It’s all about
you guys, right? (applause) Yay for you! (applause) But I want to take this time
to thank all the kids here and all the kids around
the country who have been a part of this garden. This is my baby. And hopefully, this will
not be the last planting. Hopefully, there will be
other administrations who come in and they take up
this project and continue to make this a part of the
White House tradition. But in honor of those
kids who have helped out, we’ve invited some
special guests back. We have some of the kids
who initially helped us plant the first garden. You guys were
in fifth grade? All right, where are — and
you are now in high school. And you look different! (laughter) You have
grown up! But all of you guys
were here with me, and I kind of remember
a couple of faces. You guys are,
like, grown up! But I’m just happy you guys
have — coming back to help us do the last planting. You guys started with us,
and you’re ending with us. I’m so proud of you guys. Thank you for
being here today. And you guys are pros now! (applause) We’ve come
full circle. So this is a great day, even
though it’s freezing cold to some, particularly those
in D.C. As a Chicagoan, this is kind of a nice day. (laughter) But let’s get
to work. I hear you guys have
your assignments. Are we ready to go? (applause) All right,
let’s move! Let’s plant! Let’s get it done! All right, who are my
volunteers? Who’s with me? (inaudible) Child Speaker: Savannah (inaudible) (laughter) (inaudible) Mrs. Obama: That’s good; how
about you? Female Speaker: And then
what you can do is, you start digging up and
we’ll get you some — Mrs. Obama: Are we doing our
vegetables first, or — Female Speaker: We’re going
to do the lettuce first. Does that sound good? Mrs. Obama: We’re going to
do lettuce first? So you know what you
want to do? Now, you can also — I’ve
got gloves, but you can also
use your hands. Female Speaker: You want to
get your hands dirty? All right. Mrs. Obama: Have you guys
done any planting before? So you know how to do
this, right? Female Speaker: Yes. Mrs. Obama: So why don’t we
start you on some of those up there? I’ll get the back row. Okay. Female Speaker: Does that
sound good? Mrs. Obama: We can just
break this down. Female Speaker: I’ll get you
some — Mrs. Obama: So how was the
trip here? When did you guys get here? Child speaker: (inaudible)
Sunday. Mrs. Obama: Have you
been able to spend some time in D.C., or did
you come right here? Child speaker: Yes. Yeah. Spend plenty of time. Mrs. Obama: What else have
you been doing since you’ve been here? Child Speaker: Went up to
the top of the Washington Monuments — Mrs. Obama: (affirmative),
and how was that? Child Speaker: It was fun. Very pretty. I really like it here. Mrs. Obama: It’s a beautiful
view, isn’t it? Child Speaker: Yes. Mrs. Obama: What about you? When did you guys get here? Child Speaker: Yesterday,
last night. Had a (inaudible) — we had
to (unintelligible) then to Washington. Mrs. Obama: (affirmative),
did you take a plane? Did you ride a bus? Child speaker: It’s a plane. Mrs. Obama: Yeah, how was
that? Have you been on a plane
before? Child Speaker: No, that was
the first time. Mrs. Obama: How was it? Child Speaker: It was fun,
but I was kind of, like, terrified, when it
had liftoff. Mrs. Obama: Was it a little
bit? Now one thing to do is break
it up a little before you put it in. It doesn’t — it’s okay
if it’s not, but it helps for the roots
to spread out if you break it up a little bit. Miles, what about you? What did you guys — what
have you all been doing since you got here?

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