Monday, May 27 2024 - 4:39 PM
The White House
Photo by Dreamstime

The White House Garden

When most of us think of The White House in Washington D.C., we often think of their affairs as separate from ours. It is rare that our pathways will intersect with a visit to The White House, but I had a chance to experience that rare moment.

One morning, as I reviewed articles and my Twitter account, there was a request for those interested to submit 140 words or less describing why they should be among those to take The White House Fall Garden Tour. This tour would include a visit to The White House Kitchen Garden. Without thinking much about being chosen, I quickly wrote how it would enhance my work of teaching kids, parents, and others about fruits and vegetables.

An Experience I’ll Never Forget

Three weeks later, I received an invitation to attend and I was elated! Along with 49 others, I showed up at the security gate and had an experience I will never forget.

The weather was cool, gray, and rainy. We all had our raincoats, umbrellas, cameras, and sharp minds ready to take it all in. We visited the Rose Garden, The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, and of course, The White House Kitchen Garden.

This 1,700-square-foot garden is located on the front lawn and is a good walk from The White House. Just before we got to the garden, we detoured and visited the beehive. There is only one beehive but it produces about 170 pounds of honey a year! The White House chefs use honey whenever they can to replace sugar.

The Garden

The garden was beautiful. Small plots were aesthetically arranged. I saw bell peppers, different kinds of lettuce, like red leaf and butter lettuce, broccoli, chard, bok choy, and so much more. They have even managed to grow a papaya tree, and they have had crops for the last few years. I especially appreciated the herb section of the garden. The chefs often come and get fresh herbs to prepare food for the president and his family and for state dinners.

Who gets to pick what grows there? The chefs learn what fruits and vegetables the family likes to eat. In turn, they talk to the gardeners to determine what they can grow in each season. The excess produce is donated to the soup kitchens within the D.C. area.

Health Is a Priority

It is great to see that our leaders of the United States are making fruits and vegetables a priority in their diets. This garden serves as an icon to inspire us to buy and/or grow fresh produce and make them a part of our diets. This garden also fits nicely with the former first lady’s program, “Let’s Move!” Mrs. Michelle Obama’s living message is simple but strong: Eat well and get physically active.

I have never gardened before, and this trip to the White House Kitchen Garden has inspired me to grow my first garden. I’m planting carrots and tomatoes and I’m planning to make a delicious salad with my first harvest. Why not grab a patch or a pot and join me?

If you liked this, you might also like Lessons from My Garden | Gardening: A Fun Hobby That’s Good for Your Health 

Pamela Williams writes from Southern California.

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, RD

is a dietitian, photographer, and writer in Southern California.

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