Friday, May 29, 2009

At Irish Horticultural Festival, A Replica Of Michelle Obama's White House Kitchen Garden

First Lady's Kitchen Garden has "created a very positive enthusiasm around the world," Irish Minister says...
A large-scale replica of First Lady Michelle Obama's White House Kitchen Garden is a centerpiece at Bloom in the Park 2009, Europe's largest horticultural festival, which opened to much fanfare yesterday in Dublin, Ireland.

Created by Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, as part of their Grow Your Own exhibit, the re-creation of Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden has already been visited by thousands of people. Members of the US Embassy in Ireland, including the chargé de affaires, Robert J. Faucher, visited the garden yesterday with the Green Party's Minister for Food and Horticulture, Trevor Sargent.

“Getting children involved in school gardens has had great resonance throughout the United States and internationally,” Minister Sargent told the Irish Times. “Michelle Obama took the challenge very seriously and has created a very positive enthusiasm around the world.”

The replica Kitchen Garden is also symbol of the friendship between Ireland and the US, Faucher told the Irish Times, adding that farming promotes community, health in food choices and fitness.

The huge annual exhibition at Phoenix Park features all kinds of fabulous show and demo gardens, as well as cooking classes and local foods, crafts, and music events. The replica of the White House Kitchen Garden is already one of the most talked-about exhibits.

The US Embassy has taken another page from the Obama menu, too. On Wednesday, Chef Cathal Armstrong gave a kid's cooking class at the US ambassador's residence in Dublin. Originally a native of Dublin, Armstrong now owns a string of restaurants in Alexandria, Virginia, which all use locally sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients, and have a deep platform of green initiatives.

At the Ambassador's house, Armstrong cooked with a class of about thirty kids from Scoil Mhuire Primary School in Dublin. They created a simple dish of chicken and veggies, with an emphasis on food safety and clean practices in the kitchen. Chef Armstrong will also be participating in events at Bloom in the Park, too. (Above: Armstrong in action with local kids).

A James Beard Award nominee, Armstrong works frequently on children's hunger issues; he's on the leadership council of Share Our Strength, a non-profit dedicated to ending child hunger.

*Bloom 2009 runs through the weekend in Dublin, Ireland. Follow on Twitter: @Bloominthepark. Photo from their Facebook page, with thanks to @bloominthepark!

*Armstrong photos from US Embassy in Ireland.