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First Lady’s White House Kitchen Garden An Inspiration For Healthy Eating

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(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (WJZ)—Growing healthy kids by growing healthy food. First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden is doing just that.

Vic Carter takes us on a tour of the garden with the White House chef.

It may feel like the dead of winter, but it’s still growing season at the White House.

“Our garden has been thriving all winter long,” said Sam Kass, White House chef. “We had peas through January, which is unheard of.”

When WJZ was recently invited to the White House to interview President Barack Obama, Kass also gave WJZ a tour of the first lady’s garden.

It’s the first White House vegetable garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden during World War II.

Carter: “So these are all your winter hardy vegetables?”

Kass: “That’s right. So that’s some broccoli right there, and we have chard.”

Over the last four years, the garden has produced almost 4,000 pounds of food.

Perhaps a small part of that is thanks to students at Baltimore’s Hampstead Hill Elementary School.

“We’re going to the White House to meet the president and Michelle Obama,” one student said.

Students were invited in 2011 as part of the first lady’s Let’s Move campaign to fight childhood obesity and to spotlight the school’s own garden.

“It’s very nice,” one kid said. “We get to eat healthy food.”

“Jalapenos, tomatoes…It’s a lot of healthy stuff in our garden,” one kid explained.

“We’re so proud of them. Look what they helped build,” Kass said. “I know the First Lady is tremendously proud of the garden and all that it’s helped to inspire around the country.”

Obama is inspiring kids to get healthy with her Let’s Move Active Schools campaign announced this week.

“You gotta turn off the TV, move away from the screen. You gotta keep your body active,” Obama said.

She hopes wholesome food and exercise will reduce childhood obesity, which has tripled in the last 30 years.

The White House chef says he’s thrilled to be a part of it all.

“It’s been a joy as a chef to cook out of, and it’s been a great symbol of the First Lady’s commitment to improving the health of the country,” Kass said.

The White House gives away about a third of the food grown in the garden to a local soup kitchen that cooks healthy food for those in greatest need.

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