Monday, March 26, 2012

Transcript & Video: First Lady Michelle Obama's Remarks, 2012 Kitchen Garden Spring Planting

Let's Plant: First Lady joined by 31 kids from Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and DC...
First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed 31 kids from four states and DC to the South Lawn of the White House on Monday as she re-planted her Kitchen Garden for Spring. The kids came from Mitchell Elementary School in Ames, Iowa; Stetser Elementary School in Chester, Pennsylvania; and Sumner Elementary School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Girl Scouts from Troop 60325 in Fairport, New York, and kids from DC's Harriet Tubman and Bancroft Elementary Schools also joined Mrs. Obama for the planting. (Above: Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass chats with Mrs. Obama and her three Scout helpers)

It was a bright and sunny day, and a little windy. Mrs. Obama wore black pants, a black cardigan, an orange patterned t-shirt from J. Crew, and blue suede Superga tennis shoes as she worked.

Potatoes were the big news: Mrs. Obama, joined by three Girl Scouts, planted five different kinds, the first to be planted in the Kitchen Garden other than Sweet Potatoes. The First Family will soon be enjoying Sangre, Purple Peruvian Fingerlings, Mountain Rose, Red Thumb and and Canola Russet potatoes.  (Above: Mrs. Obama cutting potatoes to be planted)

Mrs. Obama also planted Dill seed and Mustard Greens with her helpers. The visiting children were all followed by TV news crews from their hometown markets. (Above: Mrs. Obama poses with her helpers after the planting, which took about 40 minutes for the 1,500 square-foot plot)

Mrs. Obama's remarks before the digging began:


Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release
March 26, 2012


South Lawn

2:20 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA: How are you guys doing?


MRS. OBAMA: Welcome to the White House. What are these? Are they good?


MRS. OBAMA: Looks good. And you've got some apples. Yes. What's going on?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do you like living here?

MRS. OBAMA: Do I like living here? Yes, it's fun to live here. It's fun, especially on a day like this because you guys are going to help us plant the garden, right?


MRS. OBAMA: Yay! It's so exciting! All right.

Well, we have a lot of special guests here. Because every year we do this -- and what year is this? This is our fourth planting. This is the fourth time we've planted the White House garden.

So we're here again. And we've got students from Tubman and Bancroft. Yes, where are our Tubman and Bancroft students who are here? But we also have special guests from all over the country. We've got some Girl Scouts who are here. (Applause.) Woo for the Girl Scouts! We've got students from Iowa. (Applause.) Woo! We've got students from New York.


MRS. OBAMA: You guys, the Girl Scouts from New York. We've got students from Pennsylvania. (Applause.) Woo! And North Carolina. (Applause.) Woo hoo! Very good.

Well, you guys, the students from around the country, you guys wrote some really nice letters telling us about stories of the work that you're doing in your schools, in your communities. And your letters were so wonderful, I thought, why not come and see me at the White House and help me plant my garden? And you made it! Welcome. It's good to have you. (Applause.)

Well, I don’t know if you know, one of the reasons why we plant the garden is that it's an important way to have a good conversation about your health. Because one of the things that I've been trying to do as First Lady is work on an initiative that I call Let’s Move. Have you guys heard about Let’s Move?


MRS. OBAMA: And what’s it all about, Let’s Move? All right just yell it out -- exercise, good eating, getting healthy. That’s right, because we guys want you to grow up healthy. And the garden is a good way to start the conversation, because vegetables and fruits are a big part of a healthy diet.

And a lot of times when you grow your own vegetables and fruits, they taste really good. They taste better than a lot of stuff you’ll get in a grocery store -- trust me. My kids have done it. They’re not big fans of all vegetables, but if they help to work on it they’re much more excited about trying it out. And we found that with the students here.


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do you have Just Dance?

MRS. OBAMA: Do I have Just Dance? What is that?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: A video game.

MRS. OBAMA: I don’t have Just Dance. We might have it, but I don’t play it. Is it a good exercise game?


MRS. OBAMA: Does it make you dance? Is it like Dance, Dance Revolution? We have Dance, Dance Revolution. Do you guys know what that is?


MRS. OBAMA: I don’t know about Just Dance, though. I can’t say I can vouch for that. But I’m sure the Just Dance people are happy that you brought it up. (Laughter.) Should give her some commission or something. (Laughter.)

But we get a chance to talk about your health. And you guys, I know you’re doing it at your schools and in the Girl Scouts. You’re talking about planting tomatoes and planting vegetables, incorporating that kind of food into your diet, and talking to your families about doing good, healthy food? Are you guys doing some of that at home?


MRS. OBAMA: That’s excellent. So I’m very proud of you all and I’m happy to have you here. We get this done so fast because you all are here. It would take us forever to plant this garden if we didn’t have your help, so it’s really special to have you all here. So are you ready to do some work?


MRS. OBAMA: All right, so I’m going to turn it over -- back over to Sam. Sam? All right, let’s plant!

END 2:23 P.M. EDT

*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama